There is no doubt total agreement that the deaths of those young workers are just tragic.
Tragic in a different way is the politicking surrounding the matter. There is a letter from another Surry Hills resident in The Sydney Morning Herald which captures my thoughts too.
Whatever misgivings I have about Peter Garrett’s performance as a minister (and there are plenty), it is clear Tony Abbott’s bare-knuckled attacking style is pointless and lacks reason.
It is very sad that deaths have occurred as a result of installing foil-backed insulation. However, the real culprits are the insulation contractors, who should have the appropriate warranties, training and insurance in place to protect installers. As events progressed, every man and his dog was an insulation installer, accredited or not.
An educated guess is that unscrupulous ”installers” employed subcontractors, responsible for their own workers’ compensation and other insurance, to make a quick buck. Bereaved families may therefore be left with no compensation. It is unreasonable to expect the government to regulate every installer. The consumer has a responsibility to check credentials.
Unfortunately, the government is now needlessly taking on ”live roof” checks at the expense of the taxpayer. One can only hope that one day personal responsibility on the part of installers and consumers will prevail.
Nick Woolfenden Surry Hills
Obviously we need to understand what went wrong, how it might be corrected, what we have learned for the future. However, I feel in this case we need to cut some slack for Minister Garrett and his officials, recognising the circumstances of the time and the pressures they were under.
Listening to the radio discussion this morning, I know that I am not going to win this one. To fully support my argument I would have to take a multiplicity of issues and show how they fitted together. Ah well!
Having had a father and a brother in the building trades I know just how slack some subcontractors can be, not to mention some builders. Sure this is a matter for regulation, but it also reflects more personal issues out there of corner-cutting, greed and bottom-feeding ethics. The Australian small business operators involved, and consumers, need look no further than the mirror to find the real problem here. Governments, however, also need to be more realistic in their expectations. Waving a wand in Canberra is not enough. The way policy is delivered needs much more careful planning.