More than 100,000 householders risk missing out on Green Loans because of horrendous delays in paperwork being returned to them, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
“The revelation in Senate Question Time today is the latest example of gross failure on environmental policy by Minister Garrett and the Rudd Government,” Senator Birmingham, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Action, said.
Under the failed Green Loans program being wound up by the Rudd Government, householders wanting to apply must first have a completed Home Sustainability Assessment report.
While reports are supposed to be provided to householders within 10 business days of the assessment, information provided to the Coalition suggests reports are still yet to be returned to households for assessments as far back as August last year.
“Climate Change Minister Penny Wong was unable to shed any light in Question Time today about the oldest outstanding assessments, but did offer some alarming numbers pointing to enormous delays:
“… at 21 February 2010, more than 294,000 assessments had been booked, more than 192,000 assessments had been completed and over 81,000 assessment reports had been provided to households”
            Penny Wong, Senate Hansard, 25 February 2010
“This leaves well over 100,000 assessment reports that could languishing somewhere within Minister Peter Garrett’s department, and which are certainly not with the householders where they should be.
“It’s embarrassing that in announcing the demise of Green Loans Mr Garrett last week described the loans component as ‘less popular’, given that more than 100,000 householders have been held up in applying by his own department’s failings.
“This is a bureaucratic backlog of monumental proportions, and alongside the home insulation debacle demonstrates the chronic mismanagement by Mr Garrett of his portfolio.
“Mr Garrett and his department are clearly incapable of organising their way out of a recycled paper bag. 
“Given that householders now have only until 22 March to apply for a Green Loan, the Rudd Government must ensure the many thousands of outstanding assessment reports are returned to them in time to take up the opportunity they were promised.”