Is The Pink Batts Inquiry Purely Political? 1

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Sunday, October 27th, 2013
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The federal government has been accused of trying to score political points by pressing ahead with its promised judicial inquiry into Labor’s bungled home insulation scheme.

The draft terms of reference for a judicial commission into the scheme reveal Kevin Rudd and other senior members of his former government could be forced to front an inquiry, News Corp reports.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott pledged during the election campaign to launch a judicial inquiry into the 2008 home insulation scheme, which led to the deaths of four young tradesmen.

In July, a Queensland coroner found the rushed rollout of the scheme was a significant factor in the deaths of three young installers in the state. A fourth died in NSW.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said on Sunday Labor would support any process that improved workplace safety, but he questioned the motivation behind leaking details of the inquiry to media.

“I do think that does question whether this is more a political process or a process designed to get to better workplace safety,” he told Network Ten.

He said there had been eight inquiries into the program, and every recommendation had been adopted by the former Labor government.

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said the families of those killed deserved answers, but if the government was serious about ensuring this didn’t happen again, there was a lot more to be done.

“It’s purely political,” Senator Milne told ABC TV on Sunday.

 

 

QLD:Grieving Family Supports Batts Inquiry

BRISBANE, Oct 27:  The family of a tradesman killed while installing insulation under the botched pink batts scheme hopes a new inquiry will protect others from similar mistakes.

Mitchell Sweeney was electrocuted aged 22 while installing reflective foil insulation using metal staples in far north Queensland in 2010.

In July, a Queensland coroner found the rushed rollout of the scheme was a significant factor in his death, as well as those of fellow Queensland installers Matthew Fuller and Rueben Barnes.

In New South Wales, 19-year-old Marcus Wilson, died on his first day on the job after suffering heat stroke.

The federal government is pressing ahead with its promised judicial inquiry into Labor’s bungled program.

Draft terms of reference reveal Kevin Rudd and other senior members of his former government could be forced to front an inquiry.

Peter Koutsoukis, who represents the Sweeney family, says they will assist the inquiry.

“Their priority has always been to see that no other family goes through what they have had to endure through the loss of their son Mitchell and they are happy to assist in any process that helps to further raise awareness of this,” Mr Koutsoukis said.

“The family remains hopeful that this new inquiry will help to strengthen recommendations made previously to address safety issues for electrical workers, including installation of safety switches and a broader public awareness campaign outlining key risks.”

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  1. Anton Guinea

    This is a terrible story in the OHS journey of Australian Workplaces. Rushed processes and rushed work is responsible for any number of incidents and accidents that are simply avoidable. Until our work place safety culture changes, and safety is important all the time, not just when it is convenient, these accidents will continue to occur. Very sad.