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QUEENSLAND CORONER’S FINDINGS OF FEDERAL NEGLIGENCE IN HOME INSULATION TRAGEDIES

The Queensland Coroner has today released deeply serious findings regarding the three Queensland tragedies associated with the Home Insulation Program.

In particular, the Coroner found that in 2009 the Federal Government:

• Failed to appreciate the electrical risk of the program from the outset (page 2 of the findings)
• Failed to respond to industry calls for mandatory specific training “due to the tight time frame in which the program was rolled out” (page 2); and
• Failed to respond to specific warnings from the Queensland Building Services Authority to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (pages 14 and 15)

The most damning finding was:

“For the reasons detailed throughout this report, it is reasonable to conclude the dangers should have been foreseen and mitigated before three people died in Queensland and another in New South Wales.” (page 71).

Against this background of specific warnings that were ignored, Mr Rudd should now release all warnings both to him and his Department regarding risks under the Home Insulation Program. It is a matter of regret that only last Thursday he refused to do so when specifically invited to release the warnings in Question Time.

I have previously chronicled 10 warnings which are known to have been received by Mr Rudd personally, including four letters directly from Minister Garrett. In light of these deeply serious findings from the Coroner about the failure to plan, the impact of the Government’s timeframe and warnings which were ignored, Mr Rudd should have no hesitation in releasing all warnings, letters and briefings received by himself and his Department.

Finally, in light of the Coroner’s express findings of Federal failure and negligence, Mr Rudd may consider, as a matter of common decency, whether it is time to offer an apology to the families of all four young men whose lives were tragically lost in association with the Home Insulation Program.
Hon Greg Hunt MP Federal Member for Flinders Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage

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