COOLOOLA Insulations installers Dan Higgins, Kevin Mercer and Peter Williams just completed their training, in time to lose their jobs.
COOLOOLA Insulations installers Dan Higgins, Kevin Mercer and Peter Williams just completed their training, in time to lose their jobs. Craig Warhurst

Jobs go in new insulation flop

WHATEVER problems Peter Garrett may have thought he had with his Energy Efficient Homes Package, it just got a whole lot worse with his decision to scrap the scheme.

The decision, announced on Friday, has caused business hardship around Australia and put an estimated 30,000 recently trained installers out of work.

And, according to industry sources in Gympie, the announcement itself, contained in an email to all registered installation companies in Australia, has led to a national revolt and the prospect of a massive class legal action.

Cooloola Insulation’s Megan Urwin said she had received “a huge amount of emails” from other installation firms around Australia, after Mr Garrett’s Environment Department suffered a comedy of errors in announcing the shut-down on Friday.

First came the SMS message that the scheme was to close down, followed by a denial that this was the case and a claim the message had gone out accidentally.

Then came an email to all accredited installation firms in Australia, confirming that the SMS message was true in the first place.

That email, however, contained the email addresses of everyone it had been sent to, sparking initial concerns about privacy breaches.

“Then someone said, ‘We can use this,” Ms Urwin said yesterday.

Installers around Australia have used the government’s accidentally disclosed email list to organise a national rebellion, with two Facebook sites, including “Australian Insulation Installers Unite.”

Demonstrations and a class legal action have been foreshadowed, with firms now suffering huge excess stocks of sometimes unsaleable insulation material, as well as having to sack workers who have only recently finished their compulsory training.

“We’ve got three guys who just went through their training, had a week’s work and are now unemployed,” she said.

“They’ve got another scheme starting up, but not until June 1. The chances of good staff still being available then are slim, so we’ll have to train new people all over again.”

Peter Williams, Dan Higgins and Kevin Mercer are three Gympie victims. “Pete’s certificate just arrived today,” Ms Urwin said.

Gympie Times


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