Home Insulation Debacle Essay

The systemic failures are very simple and I want to start with those. Firstly, we know that there are 240,000 houses which have either unsafe or dodgy insulation. There is no plan to find and fix the 240,000 houses out of the potential million. Without a plan to examine all of the one million houses there is no solution to this problem, because almost one-quarter of them have either dangerous or dodgy insulation as a result of a program which was monumentally ill conceived and ill executed and which caused enormous human damage.

The second of the systemic failures is that there is no plan for small business in its moment of need right now. Small business is calling for assistance either in the form of a buyback or of financial assistance. There is a minor component in the existing program, but the small business program, which was promised almost two weeks ago, is now almost two weeks overdue and today’s statement has come and gone without assistance for those firms which are laying off workers on a daily basis.

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Almost 1,500 workers have lost their jobs, and there is no plan for small businesses which are currently going into liquidation. The third systemic failure in the statement today is that there is absolutely no transparency in, honesty about or accountability for the extraordinary policy failings which represent perhaps the most systemic policy failure of the last 20 years in terms of its human consequences—not one word about the costs of repairing the government’s program.

The National Electrical Contractors Association has referred to potentially $450 million as the cost of repairing a program which was already on track to being $1 billion over budget—potentially $450 million of costs, and not one word of transparency in a ministerial statement about a grand program failure in costs, not one word in real terms about the causes within the government both in terms of design and in terms of monitoring and responding to the 21 warnings which were given to the minister, and not one word as to why only three cases of criminal fraud have been reported, when we know that 0. per cent of 16,000 audited cases, approximately 80 cases, have already been identified as likely cases of criminal fraud. There is a disparity between the 80 in the government’s own figures and the three which have been reported to the Federal Court. Those are the systemic failures.


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