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Insulation Fire Risk – The data is in

Back in February of this year when a debate popped up in the media over the insulation program – if one loosely defines “debate” as screeching “OMG!! YOUR HOUSES ARE ALL GOING TO BURN DOWN”  – we thought that it might be worthwhile for someone to take their underpants off their head and have a squiz at what the data actually said.

What we found was that under every possible scenario, the government insulation program – far from increasing the rates of fire occurring from installing insulation – actually reduced the rate of fires and likely reduced the rate in a quite substantial manner.

Ultimately, the data strongly suggested that the insulation program actually made the industry safer in terms of fire risk. Some folks found that surprising since it went against the hysterics – but it’s only really surprising if you weren’t paying attention. The industry before the program was completely unregulated everywhere except in South Australia. As the program rolled out, increasing amounts of regulation aimed specifically at making the industry safer was implemented – purely in an attempt to manage some of the broad risk involved. So the initial result wasn’t particularly surprising at all when you look at the broad picture.

The original analysis was with preliminary information that was incomplete – but we attempted to control for a few issues to make a set of broad estimates that we thought would be relatively robust and accurate. Over the last week or so, the complete data has been released in various places and after crunching the numbers again with the complete data, we find that reality falls pretty much in the middle of our earlier estimates.

One of the problems we had in February was in trying to estimate the timeliness in the relationship between getting insulation installed and when a fire broke out as a result of that negligent  insulation going into your roof. If you had a dodgy installation, is it more likely that any fire would occur sooner rather than later, and if so, by how much?

That was the big question.

It’s also something we can start to answer.

What we need is the number of installations for each month of the program, as well as the number of fire incidents each month linked to the insulation program.

We can get a proxy for the monthly installation numbers from the  report of the Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts References Committee that looked into the Energy Efficient Homes package here on page 19 of the report (on page 13 of the pdf file).

It’s only a proxy because it doesn’t measure when the insulation was actually  installed, but when the money was claimed for the installation by the installer from the government.  There might be a few days or a week or so lag in these numbers – but that difference is ultimately meaningless anyway, as we shall see.

The other piece of data we need is the number of fire incidents reported by month. We can get that from the government’s Home Insulation Safety Plan website.

When we compare the two series, this is what we get – fire incidents on the left hand axis, installation claims on the right hand axis and the month on the bottom axis:


As we can see, it took a few months of growth in the installation numbers before we started to see a dramatic increase in the number of fire incidents. Similarly, when the program was stopped in February, it took about 6 months for the fire incidents to wash out of the system and return to normal.

What’s normal I hear you ask?

In previous years, around 85 fires per year occurred that were linked to insulation coming from about 65,000 installs of insulation every year. We know this because it was reported by the Department, the Hawke Report and the Australian National Audit Office report.

Over the total period from when the insulation program started until when the fire incident numbers (not the rate but the total numbers) reduced back to normal, there were 1.21 million installations completed and 197 fire incidents reported. Yesterday in Senate estimates, Martin Bowles,  Deputy Secretary of the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency under questioning from Liberal Party Senator Mary Jo Fisher, explained the numbers:

What we now know in relation to the program we have had 197 fires; 163 of those have been reported through fire brigades and the balance have been found through our inspection programs. We also know that of the 197 only 27 have caused structural damage. If we look at that in percentage terms of what was done within the program of 1.2 million homes, 197 fires roughly equates to less than 0.2 per cent—which is significantly less than what we understand to be the long-term average of those sorts of significant fire issues within insulation. If we look at structural damage, the 197 fire incidents are just that. Twenty-seven relate to structural damage of either the house or, in some cases, just the roof. It is quite insignificant in terms of the overall program but obviously significant for those involved.

So we know there was a direct relationship and a slight lag involved between installs and fires. We know that the lag effect has now washed out of the system (returning to normal fire incidence numbers) and we know that in previous years the numbers have been consistent from one year to the next, washing out the relevance of that lag in any arbitrary 12 month period. So we can compare the fire rates that occurred before the program in any given year to the full effects of what occurred under the program (over a longer 18 month time frame to bring in all possible lagged fire incidents into the program numbers)


Before the program, the industry experienced around 1 fire per every 765 odd installations – or 1.3 fires per every 1000 installs.

Under the insulation program, even though the number of total fires increased by 2.3 times, the number of installations increased by 18.7 times compared to what happened before the program. As a result, under the program the industry experienced 1 fire per every 6158 odd installs – or 0.16 fires per 1000 installs.

That makes the insulation program around 8 times safer in terms of fire incidents compared to the state of the industry before the program. Even if we take the best absolute possible estimates of what went on before the program – say, 80 fires per year off 75 thousand installs – the program is still 7 times safer in terms of fire incidents than what occurred before the program.

As we can see from the first chart – nearly all of the fires that could be caused by a negligent installation occur within the first 6 months of that installation. So we can’t see any significant evidence that fire incidents related to the insulation program are carrying over into periods beyond about 6 months after the actual installation itself.

This is something the Dept is also now across – as Dep Secretary said yesterday in estimates:

If we have a look at the fire data—we have seen that progress over the last couple of months—it tracks very closely with the installations and it has significantly reduced over the last few months. We know quite a bit about that data at the moment. We know that a lot of it tracks very closely with the installation. We know that things happened in the first short period of time after installation, and if you have a look at the statistics on the web you will see how that has tracked over time— down to a point where, from our understanding of the pre-home insulation rates and from what we have understood from the data that is out there, it is about two per 100 of the fires previous to the program actually related to an insulation issue.

It’s just a pity that everyone else wasn’t across it much, much earlier. So keep this in mind next time you see someone blowing journalistic junk out of their nether regions over fire risk and the insulation program.

The problems with the insulation program are much more complicated than simplistic twaddle over houses burning down. We might take a look at them a little later.


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  • 1
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    No doubt the Murdoch and other media will report these findings clearly and rationally in the next 24 hours and the Liberal party will start congratulating the Government for this.
    That’s before of course we start to measure the real long-term output of the initiative, reduced energy costs and usage overtime for householders.

  • 2
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Yep just like “our ABC” taking from all this and running on the ticker across the bottom of news 24, “197 house fires caused by insulation program”


  • 3
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Ah Possum. Again with the logic. :)

  • 4
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for this Poss. I have been waiting for months to put some concrete numbers about the actual period of the program behind the whinge I have been having to friends on the subject since your February estimates. And as someone who had the insulation installed (by an off duty fireman) in July 09 it is nice to know my ‘risk’ period had passed long before the media had gotten carried away with its ‘one-handed festival’.

  • 5
    Holden Back
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    franksting, watch out. Those flying pigs are not house-trained.

  • 6
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    This was all that the The Age could be bothered reporting: http://www.theage.com.au/national/insulation-data-kept-under-wraps-20101018-16qtz.html

    The opposition accused the government of a cover-up, with climate change spokesman Greg Hunt saying ”the results must be really scaring them to go to these lengths to hide them”.
    Advertisement: Story continues below

    ”This is a blatant, disgraceful and shameful attempt to hide important facts about safety risks facing worried homeowners,” he said.

  • 7
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Franksting – There was a report in one of the weekend papers that stated in Victoria there was not the usual increase in Gas usage over the winter months this year. This was attributed to the greater number of houses insulated.

  • 8
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Would be curious to see how many deaths there were under the old scheme compared to the 4 deaths that are “linked” to the current govts scheme.
    As it is I’m tempted to email Greg Hunt and avail him of the facts. His rhetoric on this issue has been disgraceful.
    Great article.

  • 9
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    The only possible spanner in this is how many installations were actually done?
    1.2 million installs were funded but how many homes actually had insulation fully fitted into their ceilings?
    I still don’t think that the fire risk would approach the pre-program rate, but I’m interested to see at what rate fraud was committed.

  • 10
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Henry I did send this article throught to Greg and I encourage all to do the same at

    Here is his response to me;

    Many thanks _ I made it clear that I think the article is bunkum.

    There is a large uptake of solar hot water, some changed practices and changed building standards.

    In Short you would not pay a million dollars for a Commodore…you would want a lot more for your million.

    The Auditor general found that the program conspicuously failed to met its 50 million tones target.

    By definition only 405 of promised installations were achieved and 29% of those have been found to be defective.
    That is definitionally less than 30% of the saving promised.



  • 11
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Wendywork- even if there was unparalleled fraud, say 30000 cases (the worst case scenario looking at what has been found so far and extrapolating it out across the entire program) – there”d still be around 1.2 million installations actually done.

    Over 1.2 mill have been claimed. 30,000 cases of fraud would reduce it down to 1.18 million.

    But 30,000 cases is a dramatic worse case scenario

  • 12
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I think the solar water stuff is dealing with my point that gas usage didn’t rise this year in Victoria

  • 13
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    This is the link about the drop in gas use because of the insulation package in Victoria.
    Results are expected to be better elsewhere.


  • 14
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Cheers Jimmy, his point regarding solar may be valid but he seems conspicuously silent re: the roof installations,

  • 15
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Yeah and I’m not sure about his figure of 29% being defective, this would be 348,000.

    Also I think there would of had to have been a massive uptake in solar hot water to have this kind of impact.

  • 16
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    This is just spin from this unelected ALP government. The ALP insulation disaster has taken the lives of 4 people and it could rise as more roofs start burning. Just like all the other ALP deceptions like the school hall rip offs, the climate change scam and the NBN con. I give Gillard and her thieves 6 months before her government falls and we get a new federal election. Abbott will march into office with a thumping majority.

  • 17
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Great work Poss! @WendyWork I think fraud will be found as the Government checks all the insulations for safety etc. There may be a few shoddy jobs done by inexperienced installers but I don’t think there will be too many that didn’t get done at all.
    Who knows? It will be interesting indeed to see these numbers. I have had mine checked because I got a new roof put on after insulation, and everything was honky dory.

  • 18
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Interesting world you live in Robina – this article is analysis of figures gathered completely independently of the govt and shows an increase in safety. The independent report into the BER showed a 2% failure rate and only a 5% premium for speed. All credible scientists acknowledge climate change as real (even Tony Abbott is currently agreeing) and just today on ABC radio there was a report of massive coral bleaching in the indian ocean due to climate change and I’m not sure howw the NBN is a con exactly.
    As for this govt being unelected on what basis are you claiming that, they won the same number of seat as the coalition, they won more on the 2 party preferred basis and they formed a govt on the floor of the house. If Abbott was PM after the negotiations would he be unelected?

  • 19
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why the only thing the lieberals can find to continually whine about are about nothing much.

    A tiny number of fires, most caused by bad electrical wiring as insulation does not get bored and decide to start a fire and deaths for which people have been charged – yet they are silent about the 8 miners who died in WA mines at the same time.

    And not a word about AWB, $300 million, kids not thrown, Iraq and no WMD’s or real scandals.

    An the BER is still focussing pissy’s mind for reasons unknown, anyone would think he has never visited any schools as he claims fraud, the buidings are hard to hide.

    And the lives of a few refugees. Morrison tabled a motion yesterday calling for the end of discriminatory processing of Afghan claims and calling for discriminatory push backs to Nauru.

  • 20
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.

    You’ve fallen for Robina’s piss-take.

    At least, I assume it was a piss-take. No-one could possibly think like that, let alone say it publicly and with a straight face, could they?

  • 21
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Andrew Bolt does a prety good job chinda63.

    And at the risk of another “irrigating in the rain” beration Marilyn it is more often than not insulation being put too close to down lights that causes the fires, but I do agree they are a small number and have been blown out of all proportion.

  • 22
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Robina, you lost me with your first sentence. “This is just spin from this unelected ALP government.” Not sure where to go from there, apart from downhill.

  • 23
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou Possum for that information.

    Can you or someone with better maths than me work out the number of deaths as a percentage difference between the pre-program and the HIP.

    I worked it out to be 25% fewer deaths in 2009 compared to previous years.

    I want very simple figures with which to repudiate the mountains of lies and misinformation that has been fed to the general public including my friends and acquaintances.

  • 24
    Barry 09
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Don’t feed the Troll Mole.

  • 25
    Space Kidette
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Excellent Analysis Possum, now if we can only set you up on a mobile soap box and have you tell all the punters the truth.

  • 26
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear Jimmy, if you really think that irrigating in the rain is correct then it is no wonder the rivers are dry and ruined by irrigators who whine and carp.

    Amazing though how none of the towns died and went broke or actually stopped production during the drought.

  • 27
    Barry 09
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy , sent a email to greg hunt. His minders reply (signed greg )
    RE: Spam:Insulation Program
    You are entitled to your views. But are you honestly telling me that $80 million of rorting , $1 Billion of fix up costs, 300,000 dodgy roofs , 197 house fires and 4 deaths were worth it. If so then i respectfully but categorically disagree. Cheers Greg.
    So a email to his office comes back as SPAM ?

  • 28
    David Jackmanson
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    So, Possum, assuming your work is correct here, here’s a far bigger problem: Why the hell didn’t the Government come out swinging with figures similar to the ones you calculated way back in February?

    Even if Rudd had some Machiavellian scheme to shaft and shift Garrett, surely government departments have a vested interest in defending themselves when people are saying “Oh look, you fucked up and people died”? No doubt it will be a while till Environment gets its hands on this sort of spending program again; surely if they’d come out fighting they could have embarrassed The Australian into backing down?

    Are all levels of Government so desperately afraid of the media they won’t campaign against blatantly wrong reasoning, even when that reasoning is being used to hold their own heads down the toilet?

  • 29
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Are all levels of Government so desperately afraid of the media they won’t campaign against blatantly wrong reasoning

    The lack of response from the Govt/ALP across all areas continues to be puzzling David. Even with the brilliant work Possum presents here, they remain, essentially, silent. There are many more than us wondering why. The same appears to have happened to Barack Obama in the US. Perhaps Rupert is more powerful than we know!! ;)

  • 30
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Sorry about the spam there folks.


    Back when I published the original article on Feb 24, that day in QT the gov – for the first time – started using some of that data. But it was a short lived affair for reasons only they know. You can find the Hansard here:


    Trying to figure out why this lot does what they do is an exercise in early insanity. I’ve long since given up.

  • 31
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Marilyn – first I didn’t say the only time you can irrigate is when it is raining, just that there are benefits to it.

    Second – if you went to any of these towns during the drought you would of seen a massive drop in production, businesses closing, farms being sold and towns if not dead on the very brink.

    Third – As I have said previously when farmers are relying on water for their very survival and paying for allocation they never receive do you think they would irrigate in the rain if it was a waste of water?

    Fourth – Irrigators have a massive incentive in keeping the river healthy (at least those down stream) and instead of name calling and pettiness we should be encouraging the to get involved on the solution

  • 32
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Sorry about the spam there folks

    So “Robina” had been banned? :)

  • 33
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Yeah, you got that right Poss, this ALP are a whimpy strange lot who just run away whenever the Opposition (er, I mean Rupert Murdoch), starts calling them names.

    And how does Gillard perform any better than Rudd? Well, see last night’s Lateline, twenty minutes of mind numbing anodyne pap that would have done Rudd proud.

    Nice work on the numbers as usual, pity that Murdoch’s ‘version’ of reality is now the established ‘truth’, or should that be ‘truthiness’?

  • 34
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    It is always good to get some good data to a polemic and per 1000 installs, a fire rate of 0.16 post program compared with 2.3 pre-program certainly adds some useful perspective to the debate. I question however, the conclusions that people here seem to be drawing about at last some “reason” to counter the “hysteria”.

    I don’t think this at all undermines the conclusion that this was a disgraceful and incompetent roll-out. Why wouldn’t you expect the rate to drop when you massively increase it’s scale? Why should rates be constants over the rollouts of all size? Why wouldn’t you expect massive improvements when you plan an industrial-nationwide expansion? Why wouldn’t you expect a massive improvement when you know that even at old rates many more fires will occur on this new scale? – when you know of direct cause and effect from other countries (New Zealand)? when you are repeatedly warned by public servants that there are real problems and that deaths are occurring.

    As I said in previous posts, the pertinent question to be asking here is: did the roll-out minimize the rate as much as can reasonably be expected from our elected representatives? In my view, No way? As official reports have now concluded: economic stimulus was placed ahead of lives – all this was foreseeable. Better safety regulations should have been in place, better monitoring, better training, quicker responses to highlighted problems. (also are the electrocutions included in the data – how many lives were lost pre-program?)

    It is haunting to remember Rudd and Garrett’s cold indifference when approached by the parents and the 4 corner’s reporter -the way they just looked away and walked on when confronted.

    It is disappointing to see Possum’s use of numbers to try and absolve one side of politics of accountability. I assume that these numbers “prove” that this was such a great program and that you will now be campaigning against the government and for the program’s reinstatement?

    0.16 might be better than 2.3 but when lives are on the line it should have been better – much better.

  • 35
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    windchange, I’ll let Possum make his own case, but I think you misrepresent what he’s doing ie presenting the facts, not trying to ‘absolve’ anyone. And who needs ‘absolving’, anyway? The first case against an employer has already established who was responsible for one of those deaths, and it wasn’t Rudd or Garrett.

    You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about this issue, one that Mr Murdoch put there I’d add.

  • 36
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Responsibility is always a complicated thing – the employers mainly yes- Rudd and Garrett some. Not sure about just presenting the facts – it seems that that partisanship seems to be getting in the way of basic government accountability. Nah the bee was ultimately lodged by Auntie.

  • 37
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Nah the bee was ultimately lodged by Auntie.

    Same diff.

  • 38
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    @ Windchange

    States rule on Workplace safety and any employer must be aware of their responsibility to their employees, the program did significantly increase the safety standards required, there were problems- but when you talking about a 15-fold decrease in death rates, you are being an absurdly hard taskmaster.

    talking about partisanship, where is the calls regarding the changes wrought by the Howard Government to the building industry which demonstrably cost lives, or how TPV’s cost the lives of women and children, I don’t seem to see the people such as yourself with all your talk of ‘Government Responsibility.

    AWB, JSF, we could continue, however given the short list here where is the call for the previous Liberal Government to face a firing squad for their obvious incompetence and specific lack of oversight in areas that were under their jurisdiction from the people calling for the same from the current Government?

  • 39
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Beat me to it autocrat, by a bee’s dick! LOL

  • 40
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Windchange – I’m not sure how much more you want. A massive increase in installations in an industry that was allegedly flooded with shonks cashing in on th govt stimulus and yet the failure rate dropped dramatically. Rates should be consistent over a range of sizes providing the variables are kept constant. In this case they dropped because one variable, regualtion was changed.
    As for the deaths yes they are regrettable but Rudd & Garrett can not have been expected to personallly meet every employer to ensure they don’t cut corners, and harsh as this sounds some of the blame must lie with the victims themselves, maybe they should of been more careful and checked for wires, or in the case of the heat stroke victim taken more breaks.
    I am also confident that a analysis of the death rate pre & post stimulus would fail to show any increase.

  • 41
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink


    <TPV’s cost the lives of women and children

    Yes absolutely, the more accountability the better

    <but when you talking about a 15-fold decrease in death rates, you are being an absurdly hard taskmaster.

    on what data is this based? See the transcript below to see that I don't think this is being an absurdly hard taskmaster.

    Agreed, Murdoch does set the media agenda too much. Still, at least the ABC still gets accused of left-wing bias which the Oz is yet to attain. Wendy Carlisle seems like a reputable reporter and the following transcript samples can't be wished away by stats.

    KEVIN HERBERT, CELLULOSE INSULATION MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION: From that first meeting it was apparent that this was going to go ahead no matter what and that the government had made a monumental error, in it tacking on the back of an employment scheme and an energy efficiency scheme. And that’s just a bad mix in this scenario we’ve just talked about. It was never going to work in the way they wanted it and they should have known that.

    Electricity is dangerous, it's dangerous in the ceiling space, it gets very hot, ah, you've got cables that, ah, over the years the insulation will crack and you'll have live conductors there. Now that's well known to everybody in our industry but apparently not to those people um who were putting the programme into place because there wasn't a proper risk assessment for the existing electrical installation ah in the ceiling space.

    WENDY CARLISLE: In early March 2009, the National Electrical Communications Association, NECA, wrote to environment minister Peter Garrett warning him there would be electrical hazards including fires.

    WENDY CARLISLE: The safety problems associated with foil insulation were also canvassed.

    INSIDER: Clearly a foil being a metal membrane um a metal foil on a membrane um presented an electrical hazard if it was installed incorrectly. If you used metal staples into foil you then charged the foil essentially and anyone who makes contact with that runs the risk of electrocution.

    WENDY CARLISLE: These very same public servants came up with solutions to the safety problems they identified, but again they were ignored by their superiors.

    See http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2010/s2882985.htm

    for the rest

  • 42
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    <Rudd & Garrett can not have been expected to personallly meet every employer to ensure they don’t cut corners

    True, but they can be expected to foresee obvious effects of policy changes and especially to heed and act promptly on expert's advice about real and urgent safety concerns.

  • 43
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    windchange – the action they took in providing regulation to a previously unregulated industry reulted in a drop in failure rates!!

  • 44
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink


    “on what data is this based? See the transcript below to see that I don’t think this is being an absurdly hard taskmaster.”

    Possums numbers….

    INSIDER: Clearly a foil being a metal membrane um a metal foil on a membrane um presented an electrical hazard….

    1st of all, Foil insulation did not just magically appear for the program, secondly this is known which is why non- metallic staples were proscribed for foil installations.

    And if you look around on this site, you will note that the 4 Corners article that you are quoting deliberately misrepresented aspects of the report.


    Why are you, and the Australian, and the ABC not calling for blood over the other issues I mentioned?

  • 45
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Yes and this is why I said it would be expected that in a nationwide rollout you would expect rates to decrease (regulation being one such causative variable). It doesn’t mean however that culpability is automatically removed. They should have regulated better – much better and as before- especially acting on concerns raised by experts and public servants.

  • 46
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Windchange – what additional regulation would you have added to further reduce the failure rate?

    No matter how strict the regulations some people will flaunt them.

    At some point people have to take resposibility for themselves, the consumer who didn’t bother to check the bona fides of someone who turns up at the front dorr holding a bag of insulation, the employee who was asked to cut corners and didn’t speak up and the employer who knowingly disregarded the regulations and put lives at risk.

  • 47
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Why are you, and the Australian, and the ABC not calling for blood over the other issues I mentioned?

    Yes, how do you spend your time and on what issues? Actually I have recently “called for blood” on the Australian and their campaign against the NBN in another publication -but probably for self-interested reasons and yes perhaps there are more worthy “causes”.

    This particular “bee” seems to get me as I’m amazed at the contortions that have taken place to defend the program by my many friends on the left. There is a real issue here about governance that is being swept away in partisan argy-bargy imho.

    Sorry, but I am persuaded by the integrity of the people and information in the 4-corners program.

  • 48
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Windchange – you are convinced by 4 corners that the govt didn’t act on a problem that the figures clearly show didn’t exist except in the minds of the Australian editors.

    If I said you could have $1.2m but you would lose $197 in tax would you consider it an excessive loss?

  • 49
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink


    <Windchange – what additional regulation would you have added to further reduce the failure rate?

    The ones advised by the public servants.

    <No matter how strict the regulations some people will flaunt them.

    True, and fires or deaths don't automatically indicate culpability which as I said, is a multi-variable thing. Policies however, set up probabilities and surely the role of government is yes not to eradicate injury death or wastage but act in a way that "optimally" minimizes the probability of bad outcomes while simultaneously maximizing the probability of good outcomes. I just think that their actions on this issue were so far removed from this goal that they deserve to be called on it. Apparently not so for Crikey readers.

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