28 October 2010

MEDIA RELEASE: Senate report into Green Loans “worst of both worlds”

The Senate's report into the Green Loans Program has offered weak recommendations that will disappoint virtually everyone working in the Program, according to an assessor spokesperson.

Last night, the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications released the findings of its inquiry into the Government's troubled Green Loans Program. The report recommended that the new Green Start Program be put on hold indefinitely, citing ongoing administrative problems, an extensive waste of taxpayers' money, and uncertainty about how to measure the Program's success against its objectives.

This follows four previous reports into the Program, which detailed wide-ranging violations of probity, management unskilled in implementing programs of this nature, and poor communications with stakeholders.

Home sustainability assessors have lodged three claims for compensation with the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE).

Aaron Nielsen, who lodged a compensation claim on behalf of uncontracted assessors, is dissatisfied with the outcome of the Senate Inquiry. Over 9,500 people around Australia trained to become home sustainability assessors, but over 5,000 of those were never offered contracts to work in the Green Loans Program.

“The Senate Inquiry has concluded that Green Start should not proceed, but has stopped short of recommending that assessors be compensated,” Mr Nielsen said.

“It's really the worst of both worlds, a weak outcome for all assessors.”

“The report says that rushing through Green Start without fixing the problems in Green Loans 'shows a lack of foresight, and a lack of concern for the development of this important industry'.”

“Yet, it is just as lacking in foresight and concern to put a halt to the entire Program, and they acknowledge as much.”

“I share the Committee's concerns for the maladministration of Green Loans and Green Start, and I agree that the industry needs a far better foundation if it is to remain viable. I'm confident this will happen in the long term.”

“That said, I don't know what options we assessors will be left with in the short term. It would certainly cost our industry a great deal of momentum.”

Mr Nielsen believes that the government and industry need a more realistic approach to dealing with the many thousands of assessors disaffected by ongoing difficulties with the Green Loans Program.

“We need to support the industry on behalf of those who want to remain, and we need an equitable way out for those who can't stay,“ he said.

“This report offers nothing to either side.”


Media Contact:  Aaron Nielsen  0438 752140


The Senate Inquiry report can be found at www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/ec_ctte/green_loans/report/index.htm.
Details of the uncontracted assessors' compensation claim can be found at www.aarongnielsen.org/hsa/compensation.


To download a copy of this media release as a PDF, click here.

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