Home Insulation Scheme Downgraded

While fully supportive of the idea to get as many older houses fitted with ceiling insulation, I believe the the Federal Government’s Home Insulation Scheme is seriously dodgy; and now the Feds are downgrading the amount of the subsidy from a maximum of $1600 to $1200. While the argument is based on a winding back of the stimulus funding as our economy picks up, it is a convenient excuse to cover up for a very poor program design and limiting the damage, especially as caused by installers claiming the full rebate by overstating the area of insulation installed.nAs I see it the problems are:nFlooding the industry with unqualified installers (one of whom was killed by electrocution by putting a reflective foil staple through a cable). Importing of insulation that does not meet Australian Standards Poor installation practices such as: Leaving bags of insulation in ceilings uninstalled Insulating around access hatches so it looks like insulation has been installed Scattering batts generally in the roof No neat fitting between ceiling members or cutting to fit odd spots No overlapping at tops of walls Not insulating to the full width of the ceiling (its hard to see that last row of batts around the edges from an access hatch Covering halogen light fittings, causing house fires Collusive tendering between individual contractors to get around the two quotes requirement Installing less than $1600 worth of insulation but overstating the area and charging $1600 (losses to the government are substantial from this rort alone) Good insulation companies in the industry affected by competition from dodgy installers False claims about job creation (depending on whether you regard jobs for visiting backpackers as job creation) What a mess! It wouldn’t surprise me if this program is canned within six months altogether. At least the $1600 option for solar hot water systems still remains. And there is a lesson in this: the solar rebate option must be paid for by the householder and a rebate sought; the insulation rebate is handled at point of sale, thus allowing for all the above corruption to emerge.nThis is a classic case of a desirable sustainability initiative being completely buggered up by bad policy, bad program design and bad politics. And don’t get me started on the Home Sustainability Assessment/Green Loans Process!

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