Officials Were Given Just Two Days Over A Long Weekend To Cost Kevin Rudd's Insulation Scheme, Inquiry Hears

Environment ministry staffers were given just two days to cost the pink batts insulation scheme according to evidence presented at the royal commission (Photo: Getty)

Environment department staffers were given just two days, over the Australia Day long weekend, to secretly cost and plan former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s home insulation scheme.

That’s according to evidence given today at the Royal Commission into the program, which was rolled out to stimulate Australia’s economy after the global financial crisis.

Environment Department Assistant-Secretary Mary Wiley-Smith, whose comments were reported by The Australian, was the first person to give evidence into the scheme today.

Wiley-Smith said she was called by a staff member from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on the Friday in 2009, who instructed her and a colleague to cost and consider the scheme and present their findings on the Monday — a public holiday.

Four tradesmen died after working on projects linked to the “pink batts” program. The royal commission is investigating whether the deaths could have been prevented.

Wiley-Smith said she was not allowed to tell her co-workers, and could only tell her minister Peter Garrett once the program, which aimed to install insulation in every uninsulated house in Australia, had been costed.

“It was a very compressed time frame,” she said.

There’s more here.

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