Bad publicity surrounding the federal government’s failed $2.5 billion home-insulation scheme has been reignited this morning with the opposition calling it a “genuine national emergency” after the scheme has been linked to 174 house fires.
The ABC reported this morning that the Opposition’s environment spokesman, Greg Hunt, says that means there has now been about one house fire per day during the past month.
“What we are seeing now is a genuine national emergency — a fire a day is putting lives on the line,” he said.
“There can be no doubt that this poses a potentially fatal risk.”
He says the Government needs to inspect all insulation installed under the program and said the situation “is now an epidemic that is out of hand and out of control.”
“We are now only 15 days into 90 days of winter. The rate of fires is increasing, the risk to Australian homeowners in increasing,” he said.
The scheme offered homeowners up to $1200 to insulate ceilings and was supposed to lead to a greener future. Last year the Minister for the Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, called it “the most exciting, ambitious energy-efficiency program that we will ever see”.
But the scheme was suspended in February following 120 fires, evidence of mis-selling, and the tragic deaths of four installers who died on the job.
Experts have highlighted that there are substantial safety risks posed by insulation of batts that are placed on top of or too close to down lights and their transformers. As yet the government response does not help those who have ended up with dodgy installations — involving the use of batts only half the regulation thickness which won’t deliver the promised energy savings or environmental benefit.
The government is urging all home owners who have foil insulation installed under the home-insulation rebate to register for an electrical safety inspection.
Did you sign up for the federal government’s home-insulation scheme? Do you have a story to tell? Leave your comments below.