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

Home Insulation Program

Interview with Naomi Woodley, ABC AM Program
16 February 2010

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EASTLEY: It's been revealed that the company at the centre of new allegations about the Federal Government's home insulation program was initially allowed to continue operating after one of its employees died.

The ABC has been told that a Brisbane based telemarketing company with no prior qualifications in insulation, pressured the Environment Department to gain accreditation for the program.

Several weeks later a 26 year old who had been working for the firm Countrywide Insulation was electrocuted.

The company says it sub-contracted the work to a fully qualified and experienced electrical contractor and the company is cooperating with investigations into the death.

The Environment Minister Peter Garrett spoke to our reporter Naomi Woodley in Canberra.

GARRETT: There is a full investigation underway in relation to Countrywide and the case is that they are now suspended under this program. It is important that, in this instance, where the material has been reviewed by the department in relation to this particular company, that in fact they now are suspended and there is an investigation, a full investigation underway and all the evidence in relation to this company, including any additional allegations that have been made, will be fully and completely explored in relation to that investigation.

WOODLEY: Who is doing that investigation?

GARRETT: That investigation will be undertaken by the department.

WOODLEY: And when was the company suspended?

GARRETT: Well, there has been a period of time when the company came to the notice of the department. The department determined that in actual fact it had met the requirements under the guidelines.

Now what I would say about this is that we brought forward additional requirements in terms of show cause rules, are consequent to this company being initially investigated.

My expectation, as it is with the other companies that have been, alleged to have been involved with these terrible fatalities is that action needs to be taken immediately as well as the necessary investigations that do take place in relation to safety authorities and the like and that in that case we have the other companies in question who are now actually not registered in the program and this full investigation taking place in relation to the company that you are asking me questions about now.

WOODLEY: But the initial assessment was that they were properly accredited and could continue their business?

GARRETT: That is correct. The original assessment by the department which went through checking whether or not the material that had been brought to the department fulfilled the requirements of the guidelines deemed that but that was subsequently reviewed.

That was reviewed over the course of this past weekend and the decision has been taken to suspend the company.

WOODLEY: Have you put a time limit on the investigation into Countrywide? When would you like to see the results of that?

GARRETT: Well I want it to be done thoroughly so I won't put a time limit on it but I expect it to be done thoroughly and it should be done expeditiously.

EASTLEY: The Environment Minister Peter Garrett speaking there to Naomi Woodley.


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