The Rudd Government has been unable to shed light on basic details of its commitment to remove foil insulation from more than 50,000 homes, Coalition Senators Simon Birmingham and Scott Ryan said today.
The failure on detail comes a day after the foil removal, or installation of electrical safety switches, was announced as part of the Government’s attempt to deal with its hopelessly mismanaged Home Insulation Program.
Asked by Senator Birmingham about the timing and cost of the inspections, foil insulation removals or safety switch installations, Energy Efficiency Minister Penny Wong couldn’t say.
Asked by Senator Ryan about the tonnes or square metres of foil being removed, and whether it would be recycled or be destined for landfill, Senator Wong again couldn’t say.
“It is astonishing that the Government would commit to such a massive program – to fix a disastrous mess of its own making – without knowing when it will start, when it will finish or what it will cost,” Senator Birmingham said.
Senator Ryan expressed amazement that the Minister had no idea what would be done with the foil, nor the potential adverse environmental consequences of the program.
“For an alleged emissions reduction program to result in the dumping of up to 10 million square metres of foil into landfill represents an enormous waste of economic and environmental resources,” Senator Ryan said.
“The massive cost and carbon footprint of the removed foil are a testament to the enormity of the policy failure.”
“Estimates of the budgetary cost to clean up Peter Garrett’s mess have ranged up to $450 million,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Not only has his complete mismanagement led to significant adverse financial and human consequences, it now appears likely to leave a nasty environmental legacy as well.”