Environment Minister Peter Garrett should direct his department to release all documents, and detail all advice, to a Senate inquiry into the Government’s now scrapped home insulation program at its appearance tomorrow, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
Departmental officials will tomorrow morning appear before the Senate inquiry at a hearing in Canberra to answer questions about what they knew, what their Minister Mr Garrett knew, what they advised him and what his actions were in response.
“Mr Garrett’s abandonment of this program on Friday in no way reduces the significance of getting to the bottom of what he was told and when, and why he persisted with a program now linked to at least four deaths and more than 80 fires,” Senator Birmingham said.
“The departmental officials appearing on Monday must be doing so willing to release all information necessary for us to establish exactly how many times Mr Garrett was warned of risks both to homeowners and installers, when he was warned and what action he took.
“With this in mind, it is critically important that Mr Garrett instruct them to release all advice provided to him about the many warnings surrounding the program’s risks and failings.
“Mr Garrett’s scrapping of his insulation program does not absolve him of his responsibilities in relation to it.”
The Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts References Committee is conducting an inquiry into the insulation component of the Rudd Government’s Energy Efficient Homes Package, including with reference to:
  • what advice was provided to the Government on safety matters, particularly in relation to fire and electrocution risks and to what degree the Government acted on this advice; and
  • what advice was provided to the Government on occupational health and safety matters, particularly in relation to training for installers, and to what degree the Government acted on this advice
More information in relation to the inquiry, including tomorrow’s hearing program, can be found on the Senate committee’s website at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/eca_ctte/eehp/index.htm