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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 688 ..


MR HANSON (Molonglo) (8.51): What is a real shame about what has occurred here is that this could have been such an effective program if it had been conducted properly. This is a program that has been discussed locally. I think we discussed the intent of this program or something similar to it in the lead-up to the 2008 election and both parties, including our own, formed policy on it.

The intent of providing insulation both to reduce greenhouse gases and to reduce costs for families in terms of their power costs is a very worthy aspiration. The problem is the way that this has been conducted and the way it has been rolled out, and it serves as a grave example of the way that the federal government have acted and, I think, in the failure in the local jurisdiction, of the way that the ACT government have failed in monitoring what has actually been going on within this jurisdiction.

It does serve as a warning for me, and a lesson I am taking from it is the—

Mr Coe: Don’t trust Simon?

MR HANSON: There is certainly that. I will get to that in a minute. It is: when we hear rhetoric about the federal government’s takeover of projects and schemes, whether that is going to actually be a good idea in the future. I think that, for me, it highlights some concerns in my shadow portfolio of health. We need to be very sure that, if the federal government in due course does start making those noises, we understand the implications and, rather than what we have seen here with Simon Corbell—just ignore what is going on at a federal level, where it should have been more properly regulated at the state level—if some of these initiatives are put forward in other portfolio areas, we do see ministers actually grasp the implications of what is occurring.

It was not as if the minister was not warned. There were a significant number of warnings that were provided to the minister. And these should have been adhered to. The first warning was on 9 March 2009, when Mr Garrett received a letter from James Tinslay, the CEO of the National Electrical and Communications Association. It warned of fire risks and it noted the problem was not insurmountable but that action needed to be taken to avert risk. That was the first warning that he received, way back in March 2009. From that day, I think there were—if I scroll down—19 warnings. It seems to go on and on, doesn’t it? No, there are 21 warnings all the way through to April 2009. They are the warnings I have got here, which includes now the added ones to the list, the Minter Ellison reports, that I think everyone who has paid any attention to the media over the last few days would be well aware of.

But what we also see is that, despite what should have been well-established risks of this scheme, there was a complete failure to acknowledge those warnings by the Attorney-General.

In summation, this has been a very poorly managed scheme from its inception. The warnings have been ignored and what we are seeing is Canberra families paying for the consequence of the government’s failure to acknowledge the warnings that they received.


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