Saturday, May 01, 2010

Please ignore that big pile of unguarded money

Mike Carlton lays blame for the government funded home insulation debacle:

Any mug lair who owned a ute with a bullbar and a dog on the back could become a qualified [insulation] installer virtually overnight, raking in the loot.

It was open slather for incompetent workmanship, the use of inferior or even dangerous materials, criminal disregard of an employer's legal duty to ensure a safe workplace, and a blizzard of fake invoicing.

Allan Hawke, the bureaucrat called in to investigate, pinned it in one scathing sentence. ''Despite some safeguards against fraud, no one foresaw the possible extent of potential malfeasance which was simply alarming - a classic example of why governments need to regulate markets to ensure their proper functioning, '' he wrote.

Tony Abbott and his media cheerleaders would have you believe it was the government that botched the scheme.

Yes indeed, easy money proved impossible to resist for the unscrupulous but investigator Allan Hawke also noted bureaucratic incompetence occuring even after the scheme's problems became obvious:

The [Hawke] report notes that following the first of the four deaths the program developed “incrementally” and “reactively” but concluded that “the opportunity to step back from the day to day management of the program, ask hard questions and test assumptions was not taken until late in proceedings”.


Despite early efforts and later enhancements at DEWHA program management infrastructure and expertise at DEWHA were not sufficient to support the (at times unanticipated) demands placed on them.

A higher level of full time senior management oversight, including a dedicated Deputy Secretary should have been assigned full time to the energy efficiency programs for the duration of their roll out.

Money there for the taking was taken. Amazing.


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