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Thursday, 29 October 2009
Page: 7572


Senator MILNE (9:52 AM) —I seek leave to make a short statement.


The PRESIDENT —Leave is granted for two minutes.


Senator MILNE —The Greens have supported the government’s Energy Efficiency Homes Package in relation to insulation. We believe that it has led to a significant rollout of jobs around rural and regional Australia at a time when we desperately needed those jobs. I want to make sure that we have a look at the jobs impact of this investment and also investment in manufacturing, installation and so on around the country, and I think the motion is improved by looking at that. I also included an amendment to look at the existing level of ceiling insulation and wall insulation around Australia and at the current Building Code. For decades now governments of all stripes at federal and state level have failed to require insulation. In 1989 I moved in the Tasmanian parliament to make insulation mandatory in terms of building there, and it was vehemently opposed by the Master Builders Association, who continue in Tasmania to oppose insulation even though it provides much better amenity for people living in the houses and is much cheaper over time. I genuinely want to look at the improvements, but I also recognise there have been shortcomings in the program. I have added amendments in relation to the level of consultation about existing levels of capacity, because I think it is most unfortunate we had to import this from China. I want to make sure that the safety standards have been adhered to with that impossible-ported insulation, which is why I have in-cluded amendments pertaining to that. I also want to look at the possibility of rolling out the program further to small business in particular, which is seen to be a gap. (Time expired)