Ex-PM Kevin Rudd No Escape To the Home Insulation $2.5B Inquiry

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By Athena Yenko | December 23, 2013 1:47 PM EST

Ex-prime Minister Kevin Rudd will be summoned regarding the inquiry of the home insulation $2.5 billion, which started Monday in Brisbane.

The Royal Commission will hear whether the deaths of the four tradesmen could have been avoided if the government observed all proper protocols, heed advice, warnings and recommendations on how the project should be implemented.

The commission will look if all risks were identified, assessed and managed before its roll out. It will also identify whether it did do good than harm in the community, families and the home insulation businesses in the long run.

In 2009, Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes, Mitchell Sweeney and Marcus Wilson all died while working on the rollout of the so-called "pink batts" scheme set up.

The home insulation project was put into service by the Rudd Government as a response to the global financial crisis that the country experienced. However, the project allegedly had caused hundreds of house fires across Brisbane.

"I will have a particular focus on the way in which the government identified, assessed and managed workplace health and safety risks, and whether the government had sufficient regard for those risks in developing and implementing the home insulation program. I'll can consider the impact of the program on pre-existing home insulation businesses and consider the relationship between government in managing and coordinating responses to risk.My aim is to find answers to the questions unresolved in previous inquiries. Put simply, what really went wrong," Ian Hanger, Brisbane lawyer appointed as the commissioner of the inquiry, said.

Hanger was given until June 2014 to come up with a report on all pertinent findings surrounding the $2.5 billion scheme. He was also expected to recommend improvements to laws, policies and procedures to prevent such scheme to happen again.

Meanwhile, ACTU called for the royal commission not to become a "political witch hunt" meaning that the commission's first and foremost priority is the safety of worker.

"The community has no appetite for a costly political witch hunt at the expense of constructive outcomes on safety for workers. The ACTU calls on the Royal Commission to recommend the introduction of industrial manslaughter legislation, tougher penalties for employers that breach existing legislation and increased resources for regulators," Assistant Sec. Michael Borowick said. 

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