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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

$450,000 for heritage projects in ACT under the Jobs Fund; Energy Efficient Homes Package

E&OE Transcript
Doorstop interview, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Canberra, ACT
6 October 2009

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GARRETT: This is an important announcement this morning of the heritage component of the Jobs Fund where we're providing nearly half a million dollars on a range of projects here in Canberra, including on Mount Stromlo for the Reynolds Observatory for some structural work to be done. In particular on the telescope which has got a great historical and cultural significance to Canberra. This is a continuation of projects that we've been announcing right around Australia.

Importantly they're projects which see employment uptake happen quickly, where local jobs are created and where possible local materials are sourced, and it's a recognition that not only are we providing continuing stimulus to the economy - stimulus which is important, and has proved up to this point in time to be critical in weathering the storms of the global financial crisis - but also enabling heritage projects to be developed in such a way that local and regional tourism economies can build on the back of the heritage resources that places like Canberra have.

JOURNALIST: Minister just very briefly on the ETS, as I'm sure you've heard the Liberals and the Nationals are talking about delaying the vote in the Senate is that a reasonable request or response?

GARRETT: Today we have a further decline into dissention, denial and total disorganisation on the part of the Coalition parties on the most important issue we face: providing certainty for Australian businesses and communities on climate change.

It beggars belief that Mr Turnbull is presiding over such a chaotic and destructive process whereby there is so little purpose and agreement within the Coalition that they're credibility on climate change is in complete and absolute shatters. And I say to the Coalition that the Australian public expect certainty, a decent sense of purpose, and the opportunity to have the agenda that the Government brought forward at the last election properly debated and advanced.

What we're seeing is a shambolic display on the part of the Coalition which provides nothing but uncertainty for business, nothing but uncertainty for the community, and is one of the most appallingly misconceived and totally shambolic efforts by any Coalition in our post-war history on an issue as critical and as important as climate change is.

JOURNALIST: Given the complexity of these issues what's wrong with giving them a bit more time to try and finesse their position?

GARRETT: Let's not forget that Mr Howard when he was Prime Minister had begun the process of considering what an emission trading scheme would be like. Let's not forget that the Coalition went to the last election with an in principle commitment for an emissions trading scheme and let's not forget that they've had year after year of report and study and Green Paper and modelling to be able to bring forward a coherent position on an issue as important as this. They have had all the time in the world, and yet their credibility and their capacity to make any sense on climate change continues to disappear down the plughole.

JOURNALIST: Minister on the pinks batts part of the stimulus package the Governments' put together. As I'm sure you're aware some companies have been de-registered in Bundaberg area. This is something our newsroom reported there. How many companies have been deregistered across the country for not taking part appropriately in this process and why?

GARRETT: We have proposed for about a hundred companies in installation of insulation to be taken off the register, and that's a consequence of various breaches by companies. I've always said that this is one of the most successful and comprehensive pieces of energy efficiency infrastructure support ever produced in this country.

If there are any instances of installers who are taking advantage of the program, where there's any instances of improper behaviour, of illegal behaviour, or of installers not fulfilling the requirements they have then they will be struck off the register and that's what's happening.

JOURNALIST: What safeguards are in place to stop it happening elsewhere?

GARRETT: We have a really significant monitoring and compliance program in place around household insulation. I've written to all of those householders who have received the insulation to see whether there are any issues that have arisen. We are providing spot checks and we are continuing ceiling insulations and we've strengthened the guidelines as well.

It's important to recognise that this has been a phenomenally successful campaign employing many Australian's right through the manufacturing chain, and putting ceiling insulation in homes of over 330,000 Australia households. But that small number of installers who are breaching the guidelines, who are doing the wrong thing will be dealt with and I'll take absolutely no exceptions in this approach.

The Government wants to see taxpayers' money put to the use that it was intended. If installers don't properly follow the guidelines, if they act in ways which are unfair or unethical then they will be dealt with in a robust and decisive fashion.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible] Ross Johnston, 33 customers of his have been caught up in this, have you contacted those 33 customers yet and are any remedies available to them?

GARRETT: On the particular details I would propose that you seek further additional advice from the department. I'm aware of the fact that we do have a number of installers who've been given notice and that there are significant ongoing discussions about a range of other breaches.

I have to stress that we are seeing a remarkably small number of installers who are breaching the guidelines and we a have had a remarkably small number of complaints, but each and every one will be followed through, each and every on will be assessed thoroughly.


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