Findings against public servants in royal commission ‘regrettable’

The royal commission says public servants should be examined for wrongdoing in the home insulation rollout. The Public Service Commission calls it “regrettable”.

The public service commissioner says it’s “regrettable” findings were made against senior public servants in the royal commission into home insulation. And the federal department responsible for the management of the botched pink batts program is examining the recommendations, including whether senior public servants should face action.

Ian Hanger’s final report into Labor’s “poorly planned and poorly implemented” economic stimulus program is damning of both the directions from government and the work of departments “ill-equipped” to manage the scheme, which resulted in the deaths of four insulation installers.

The report is critical of a number of senior bureaucrats in the Department of Environment. Hanger found Kevin Keefe, who ran the program, and Beth Brunoro, a former director in the Home Energy Branch, were advised of the serious risk posed by installing reflective foil in homes but “did nothing to further investigate it”. “They should have done so,” the report states.

David Hoitink was also criticised for concluding the federal government could leave health and safety regulation to the states and territories.

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  • Mark Duffett

    Could one reason for the failure of senior managers to identify and manage the risks to installers be the
    lack of scientific or technical elements in their background? Shouldn’t science and/or engineering qualifications be prerequisite or at least desirable for senior positions in departments with carriage of areas like climate change, environment and water, industry and ‘home energy’? Or is generic managerialism unchallengeable?