Page 831 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 16 March 2010

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MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Members of the opposition, you will remain silent.

MR CORBELL: So the warnings were issued before and after the commonwealth scheme commenced—before and after—early last year, late last year.

Mr Hanson: But no documents. How could that be possible, though?


MR CORBELL: Following up on this, in early February this year the Office of Regulatory Services also ran an article in their monthly newsletter that is distributed electronically to over 3,000 subscribers across ACT business and industry, as well as to the members of this Assembly, I should note, which focused on the safety issue of installing ceiling insulation.

Further to these alerts, the Commissioner for Fair Trading issued a separate warning alerting consumers to dubious sales tactics and urging Canberra’s consumers to be wary of door-to-door traders who may not comply with consumer law. It drew attention to an example of the tactics that had been used by a door-to-door trader specifically selling the installation of insulation.

So how often do I need to state that, as soon as information was brought to light in relation to the dangers associated with foil-type insulation, my department proactively liaised with the commonwealth department to ascertain how many residents in the ACT had sought the commonwealth government rebate in relation to this type of insulation? There were two, as I have previously said. One property has since been inspected and cleared by the ACT Planning and Land Authority. The owner of the other property has advised ACT government authorities they wish to await an inspector from the commonwealth government.

With regard to some recent house fires in the ACT, I have previously noted several times that there is a coronial inquiry currently being undertaken. For the information of those of you who may be unaware, the coroner does not just investigate deaths; the coroner traditionally and by legislation has a role in fire investigation. The coroner may choose to investigate fires that have resulted in property damage. This investigation is a fact-finding investigation. It is designed to establish the cause of the fire and the coroner can make recommendations to the government and to other authorities to improve fire safety and reduce the incidence and risk of fire. (Extension of time granted).

Whether these fires were related to the commonwealth government’s insulation scheme is still a matter for the coroner to determine. I will emphasise this point again: it is inappropriate to speculate, as has been done in the past, as to what the cause may be. And no matter the findings of the coroner or the recommendations, the government will be listening to the coroner and taking all appropriate and necessary action recommended by the coroner, if there are outstanding issues that need to be addressed.

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