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Thursday, 29 October 2009
Page: 7573

Senator BIRMINGHAM (9:54 AM) —I seek leave to make a very brief statement.

The PRESIDENT —Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator BIRMINGHAM —I place on record thanks to Senator Milne for her cooperation in negotiating amendments on this inquiry, and we look forward to working with the Greens. It is disappointing that the government indicated their opposition to this. In the end, this inquiry is into a very sig-nificant area of government expenditure. We have heard through Senate estimates that the government knew before establishing this project-gram that the average cost of home insulation in Australia was $1,200, yet they chose to establish a program offering a $1,600 cash rebate. If that is not wasteful, if that is not inflationary, if that is not madness, I do not know what is. We of course have seen many other problems highlighted with this program. We want to run an inquiry that hopefully shows the way forward for this and how such programs can be established in fut-ure in a way that will actually deliver a benefit for the Australian taxpayers and a benefit for the environment, not the type of wasteful inflationary expenditure of the government.