Government to establish Royal Commission into failed home insulation programme

Joint press release
Senator The Hon. George Brandis QC, Attorney-General
The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment

14 November 2013

The Government today announced that Cabinet has decided to establish a Royal Commission into the former government’s Home Insulation Programme which tragically cost the lives of four young men and caused extensive damage to property and lives. This is in line with the promise announced during the election campaign.

The Government will shortly recommend Terms of Reference to the Governor-General for her consideration and recommend the appointment of an eminent lawyer as the Royal Commissioner. The Terms of Reference and the identity of the Royal Commissioner will be published as soon as they have been approved by the Governor-General.

The Royal Commission will focus on:

  • The process and basis of Australian Government decisions in the establishment and implementation of the Home Insulation Programme and the Energy Efficient Homes Package that preceded it, including the identification of risks arising from the programme and the assessment and management of those risks;
  • What if any advice, warning or recommendations were given to, or sought by, the Australian Government from industry representatives, regulatory authorities and other government agencies during the establishment and implementation of the programme, and what steps the Australian Government took in response to any such advice; and
  • Whether any changes should be made by the Australian Government to its laws, practices, processes, procedures and systems to ensure that failures of this kind do not recur.

The Commission will examine all relevant matters from the inception of the policy to the finalisation of the programme and will take into account the findings of coronial inquests and other inquiries into the Home Insulation Programme.

This Royal Commission will give the families of the four young men – Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes, Mitchell Sweeney and Marcus Wilson – who died while installing insulation, the answers they have been seeking.

Importantly, the Government consulted the families in developing the proposed Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission. The Commission is to report on or before 30 June 2014.