Royal Commission into Home Insulation Program Begins

News posted on 24.12.2013 on Research & developement

"What really went wrong? What made it go wrong? And how can this commission assist government and industry to ensure that circumstances like the ones we face here do not happen again?'' Commissioner Ian Hanger QC told the royal commission into the home insulation program, reported The Australian on Monday (23/12/13).

Mr Hanger officially opened the investigation with the first public hearing in Brisbane, vowing to find answers as yet uncovered by coronial inquests and other inquiries into the stimulus program.

Outside court, Matthew Fuller's parents Kevin and Christine Fuller said they wanted the whole truth about their son's death to emerge.

Mr Fuller said he did not want another family to endure what his had and said they felt their son, and the other three men killed, had been sacrificed for the economy.

He said it was often overlooked that more people were injured, houses were burnt and insulation installers' lives were put at risk.

“We don't talk about the huge number that got almost killed, or were severely injured and are still suffering mentally and physically to this day.”

This morning's first public hearing was brief and covered mainly administration issues.

Mr Hanger opened the hearing and read an address. The Governor-General's letters of patent - authorising the royal commission - were read, and counsel assisting the commission, Keith Wilson QC, also spoke.

Mr Wilson said the commission's June 2014 deadline for reporting was “tight but achievable.”

Witnesses summonsed would be obliged to give evidence, Mr Wilson said, but he hoped the commission would not regularly need to use its “armoury” of coercive powers to compel people to do so.

He said 76 summons or notices to produce had been issued and were being served.

Mr Hanger adjourned the commission until further public hearings, which are expected to be held in March and April next year.