"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Monday, February 15, 2010

Green Jobs Cause Four Deaths - Minister Under Pressure

Although criticised as waste the Government thought it was a good idea at the time spending billions with teams of  workers installing subsidised roof insulation across  Australia.  However with four deaths , and with thousands of roofs potentially lethal with a combination of foil insulation and old wiring , Environment Minister Peter Garrett is clinging to his job  amidst calls for his head.
Apparently Garrett had received advice of the problem in October 2009 but had not acted upon it. The Government is now spending millions to check installations and already some lethal ones have been found. Even the ABC's Chris Uhlmann has joined the attack What is real is that one million homes now have some kind of insulation stuffed in the ceiling. But to claim it a "success", as Environment Minister Peter Garrett does, assumes all insulation and all installers are equal and that all those homes are now more energy efficient and, crucially, safe.

We now know that more than 40,000 with foil insulation run the risk of having been electrified. An audit of a sample of the homes found it's likely more than 1,000 of them are now "live". Alas, no-one knows which ones so all will have to be checked at an estimated cost of $50 million.
Peter Garrett's performance as a minister has been less than inspiring but the Government cannot afford to hand Abbott a ministerial scalp at this crucial time.


  1. Garrett and his advisors simply did not do their homework correctly.
    Because Insulation is a "weather" product and generally follows seasonal patterns. This makes it difficult to hold staff all year and/or find enough workers for the busy times. Most of the 'experienced' insulation companies work their installers on a sub-contract basis and pay 'by the job'. There was simply no way that existing companies could meet the massive demand that Rudd and Garrett decreed. So it should be no surprise to hear of totally untrained people, young and not so young, up in these 'hot box' roofs attempting to get on a payroll. Errors in such working conditions can be no surprise.
    Journalists and the Australian public have not adequately taken on board the warnings issued by the longtime experienced leaders in the Insulation industry. There can be no escape from this fact - Rudd, Garrett and his Department simply were not diligent in the assessment of how a small industry copes with an overwhelming overload.
    I sincerely hope there will be no more deaths or house fires but we must hold Rudd and Garrett to account for the past tragedies.

    Tom Green
    Agnes Water

  2. Tommo,
    Your remarks are completely correct. The whole premise was to be seen to be doing something green without doing the proper investigation and planning. This is symptomatic of the Government's approach to "green" issues.

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