07 May 2010

Three media releases about Green Loans and the GLA Compensation Group

[These three media releases were passed on to me by Patrick Moroney, the media consultant for the GLA Compensation Group. They are available for immediate release. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of this group. - A.N.]

Green Loans Assessors Compensation Group (GLACG)
Media Release

For immediate release: 

GLACG to Submit Claim Against Rudd Government Failed Green Loans Program
Federal Rudd Government should be ashamed for the pain and suffering they have caused contractors and their families.

The Green Loans Assessors Compensation Group will on May 24th submit a claim for compensation to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Penny Wong at Parliament House.

The compensation claim is being prepared by the assessor group in order to help stem the amount of assessors and their families who are under severe financial strain as a result of the systemic failure of the Green Loans program.

Compensation could run into the tens of millions of dollars if the Government agrees on a settlement package for all assessors.

Compensation is also being sought in order that assessors can settle their debts and attempt to re-train in order to find future work.

The Rudd Government has bitterly disappointed ‘its own green army’ of assessors and many feel they have been duped by organisations associated with the scheme into believing that Green Loans was a stepping stone to carve out a career in the environment industry.

Program administrators have permitted training organisations and the assessors association ABSA (Australian Building Sustainability Association) to train and register up to 8000+ assessors when the Governments primary focus was for 1500-3000 assessors to participate in the program.

This was despite the Government being warned the numbers were exploding.

Since the Government removed all assessor’s online calendars containing their booking information the day before Christmas problems have been well documented and a number of enquiries are in progress including one by the auditor general.

The program as it stands is in tatters.

  • Currently assessors are now limited to completing only five assessments per week, a cut of 50 – 75% in assessments for the average assessor since the program’s inception.
  • Assessors can still promote the program to the public to have a Green Loan assessment completed even though the Green Loan component was canceled by the Government in March.
  • A majority of assessors are being paid much longer than the thirty days set by the Government..
  • Over 100, 000 householders are still awaiting their completed Green Loan Home Sustainability Assessments.
  • Over 200, 000 householders are still awaiting their $50 Green Voucher to spend at a local retailer.
  • further training for assessors has not eventuated as promised.
  • a workable online booking system has not eventuated as promised.

Assessors are finding it embarrassing to say the least when they talk to the community about Green Loan Assessments when all the documentation is titled ‘Green Loans’ but no loan is available.

Assessor’s have had to print their own paper work as the Government has not been able to supply official paperwork for months.

GLACG’s view is that the Government and Penny Wong should make a statement now as many assessors have had to move on and find alternative work whilst the Government tries to sort out the mess that is Green Loans.

GLACG believes it will suit the Government well when they realize that the 8000 trained assessors has dwindled to a few thousand who are active in the program once they finally put some changes on the table.

The Government has advised changes are on the way but the damage has been done though some analysts wonder whether Green Loans will survive past the coming Federal budget.

GLACG feels that assessors deserve to be treated with respect by this Government and be paid compensation for the resulting financial pain and emotional suffering they have endured.

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Green Loans Assessors Compensation Group (GLACG)
Media Release

For immediate release: 

GLACG to Rally at Rudd Government’s Footstep’s
Green Loans Assessors Compensation Group will stage a passive rally at Parliament House May 24th

Following the failings of the Rudd Governments Green Loans program a green Loans Assessors Compensation Group will gather at Parliament House on May 24th.

Green Loans Compensation group is made up of mum and dad assessors and everyday hard working Australian’s who have been crushed by the Rudd Government’s failed Green Loans program many of whom have gone bust or are struggling to hold onto their homes, cars and livelihoods.

The Group will attempt to forward onto the Prime Minister himself and his ministers a claim for compensation for the costs of starting their Green Loans businesses.

Vicky Whiteman is one such assessor who has felt the impact of the failed program.

Vicky investigated and researched the program from day one before deciding if the opportunity would be worth while spending $3000 - $4000 in startup fees.

Currently she is behind thousands of dollars  and has no idea when or if she will receive any payment having also been caught up in the GLACO collapse. (Read Vicky’s story in our attached media release).

A recent survey has indicated that hundreds of assessors are being paid late and one organization GLACO, who is under investigation has folded owing assessors hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Though the program was never going to be infinite it was understandably viewed, based on the information provided by the Federal Government, the Assessors Association - ABSA and training organizations, that ongoing work was available and would justify the outlay to start.

Vicky thought she was entering an all new industry that had the potential to become a long term career.

Little did she know that it would all come crashing down within a matter of weeks due to program delivery failures by the Government admitted in the Senate two months ago by Penny Wong, Minister for Climate Change.

GLACG is requesting the Government to address the difficult situation many assessors have inadvertently found themselves in by offering assistance packages a seen offered to the insulation businesses and workers.

GLACG believes Green Loans Assessors deserve to be compensated for the failings of this program and the large costs that mum and dad assessors spent to represent the Government at a time when they were trumpeting the now delayed ETS as Australia’s and the World’s greatest challenge of the future.

The group is hoping that the Prime Minister will meet them on the lawns of Parliament House as members believe they plenty of issues for him to consider.

Certainly GLACG will endeavour to send Mr Rudd an invitation.

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Green Loans Assessors Compensation Group (GLACG)
Media Release

For immediate release: 

Rudd Government’s Green Loans Program Continues to Hurt Families
Penny Wong asked for time to fix Green Loans – In the meantime assessors go broke!
GLACO Assessors have their payments frozen.

Weeks ago Penny Wong asked for time to fix the Green Loans program.

Now two months on and no reply from the Minister the 8000 trained assessors are in limbo about the future of the Green Loans Program.

Some assessors believe the program may be cancelled just like the insulation program in the coming budget.

But for the 8000 assessors who on average spent $4000 to become assessors its too late, many of whom have never earned one dollar in return and have disappeared into the wilderness.

Vicky Whiteman is one of the typical mum and dad assessors that spent thousands of dollars to deliver the Rudd Government’s Green Loans program.

After one disappointment after another and now in serious financial hardship Vicky tells her story.

Hi, my name is Victoria Whiteman,  after hearing about the Green Loans Program I applied to the training organisation which required proof of prior skills in this area.  I was accepted into course and then  flew to Canberra in Jan 09 to attend Assessors course.  The cost was around  $2000.  I was told that only 1000 assessors nationwide would be contracted to the government over a three year period, this was later confirmed at the information meeting held at the Vibe Hotel Sydney just prior to the commencement of the program (Chris Mobbs was the government speaker).  I was also told that future modules for training for the portal, the assessment tool both on-line and off-line would be given prior to the commencement of the program.  I started on the 1st July 09, to date  the promised training had not been given. 

I then had to pay  for the accreditation, police checks and insurances which were around $ 1500.  At commencement of my work I found it impossible to contact the call-centre to book in my assessments.  We were given no contact numbers only a email address to communicate with someone from the Green Loans Program.  If an assessor was able to get a phone number for a contact within Green Loans, the phone number was quickly disconnected when assessors started to call it..  Assessors had no idea how to use the tools or workbooks and were winging it and working it out themselves.  This has been the way the whole program has been run from the beginning, assessors working everything out themselves without any assistance from both DEWHA or ABSA. 

I was finding it extremely difficult to find assessments as the postcards supplied by DEWHA were hopeless and didn't produce any assessments at all.  I was made aware of a group that was contracted to DEWHA and it was a booking service, the way that worked is this, they found and booked assessments for me.  I then invoiced them, they invoiced DEWHA, DEWHA then paid GLACO and then GLACO paid us.  During this time I was still able to do independent assessments and invoice the government with a second invoice, this was great as I felt protected by the fact the government was connected to GLACO. 

Assessors were panicking because the number of assessors was growing, assessors were contacting ABSA about their concerns for their own livelihoods and again we were ignored, the government had again let us down.   By Dec numbers of assessors were rising at an alarming rate, as training organisations were popping up everywhere, promising the world and even conducting training over the internet.  The booking line went into meltdown and by December 09 we were unable to book in any jobs, DEWHA in their wisdom closed the booking centre and the only way to make a booking was to email them the details, in no time that was soon stopped too!  All of January assessors were unable to make any bookings. 

By Feb 10 I was working for both GLACO and doing my own independent assessments.  I was told during that GLACO was intending to close it's doors and cease trading, I rang DEWHA and requested that we submit the GLACO invoices directly to DEWHA so I would avoid losing my money as did other assessors, DEWHA told me no you must submit it to GLACO as they have  a contract with them.  On the 1st of April 10, we received an email from the director GLACO that they have ceased trading and we will not receive any of our monies.   Since this has happened, any invoices that have been submitted for independent assessments to the government from assessors caught up in GLACO have had their payments frozen, for my FEB invoice is over 60 days late and my March invoice is over 40 days late,  I have resorted to issuing the Government with a letter of demand for both payments, between the government and GLACO I am owed $11,300.00 and need to submit my April invoice which will be approx $1500.00 making the total out of pocket $12,800.00.   I can not afford to work any longer, I am on the verge of losing my home and I can not even pay my credit card minimum monthly payments, both my home phone and internet have been disconnected and they are threatening to take legal action on bills.  I have borrowed money to feed my children and my husband will have to let our apprentice go as we can no longer pay him. 

I have sent so many emails to DEWHA and made that many phone calls prior to my phone being cut off,  I have made DEWHA aware of my situation and I did receive a phone call from one DEWHA rep to say that any of my independent assessments are frozen and any future assessments would also be frozen, until the department seeks legal advice,  this was 3 weeks ago and I still have not heard anything and have no idea of a time frame for the payment in the future.  I can't keep going like this, this situation has had me on the point of depression.  How does a government, think families can survive being treated like this?  Working families are suffering at their hands!

Vicki Whiteman

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For more information on GLACG
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Media Contact

For all media enquiries please contact Patrick Moroney GLACG Media Consultant.

Mobile 0407304014

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