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Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Page: 6209


Dr SOUTHCOTT (Boothby) (09:58): I would like to speak about the Home Insulation Program. The government knew the risks about quality, fire, safety and the potential for fraud but did nothing to mitigate them. The program has caused four deaths, almost 200 house fires and countless scams and dodgy installations. It is one of those countless dodgy installations that I want to talk about today.

Two constituents of mine own a very lovely 1920s house within my electorate. They were cold-called, approached by an insulation company on 30 November 2009 to have their house insulated under the government's scheme. They agreed. What they did not know was how much of a mistake that decision would turn out to be. My constituents were under the impression that they would be receiving replacement insulation batts. However, the company installed shredded paper insulation—cellulose—instead on 14 January 2010. This is done by spraying the insulation into place. However, the installers were so careless with this process that they covered all cabling and all roof trusses, causing serious safety risks. Their roof cavity looks like a sea of shredded paper. It was not discovered that shredded insulation rather than batts had been used for some months, as they were not home when it was installed.

Twelve months after the installation, on 19 January this year, and after hearing about fire concerns my constituents called a recommended company to inspect the roof. The inspectors refused to enter the roof space due to safety concerns that the beams and electrical wiring were covered and unable to be seen. My constituents then called their friend, an electrician, who also refused to enter the roof space. They called the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and were never called back. They called the department again and another inspection was arranged. This inspector also declined to enter the roof space due to safety concerns and said that a master electrician was needed. The master electrician refused to enter the roof space due to safety concerns and told my constituents to call the department to have the insulation removed. They rang the department again and were told they would be called back. They never were. Once again, they had to chase up the department—this is now up to 2 June—who had no record of previous contact. They were told the department would look into it.

This has now been six months since they first sought to have their roof inspected. They are still being given the run-around by the department. I call on Minister Combet, the minister in charge of cleaning up this insulation debacle, to stop the run-around and ensure my constituents' house is made safe again, the way their house was before this debacle began. They was nothing wrong with their ceiling before this insulation scheme. There was nothing wrong with their roof before this insulation scheme. This has been a debacle from start to finish, and now we have an incredible situation where they continue to get the run-around. The government needs to act.