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Short term pain

Monday, 22nd February, 2010

* Local installation installer, John Simpson. * Local installation installer, John Simpson.

There will be some short term pain but sudden changes to the Federal Government's ceiling installation program should make it better, according to an installer.

Local installation installer John Simpson said some local workers would be out of a job, tens of thousands of dollars would be pulled from the local economy and there would be intellectual stress following the shut down of the program, but ultimately it should weed out unscrupulous operators. The Federal Minister for Environment, Peter Garrett, scrapped the ceiling insulation program on Friday following four deaths, more than 80 house fires and a long line of complaints about dodgy operators. In its place is the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme, which Mr Garrett said would be safer and would weed out dodgy operators.

But the new scheme does not come into effect until June 1 leaving installers up in the air. A licenced insulation installer, Mr Simpson said he would have to lay off two workers. "Two will lose their jobs definitely," Mr Simpson said.

"There are lots of other people who have done nothing but insulation and they will be in trouble. "Locally, though, I don't think anyone would be in that boat." Mr Simpson said he had just spent $10,000 on batts which he can now do nothing with. He said the sudden closure of the program will be felt locally. "There's short term pain - no doubt about that," he said. "And there's $20,000 to $30,000 I'm not spending installing insulation and that's not going back into the economy."

Under the new scheme, householders must pay up front for the installation of ceiling insulation leaving those most needy with less chance of accessing the program, which is designed to lower utility costs. Locally, householders would have to pay around $1,200 to the installer, who will then receipt them before they can claim a $1,000 rebate back through the Medicare system.

Mr Simpson said while that cash outlay could put it out of reach for some, it would mean the end user is in charge of quality control. "It might deter some people but the quality control will be in the hands of the householder," he said. "But we don't want to close the door on those people either. "It could require some carrying - but supplier beware.

Mr Simpson said a reported $10,000 cash bond, should go some way to weeding out the dodgy operators. "I'm OK but I'll have to borrow it," he said. "But some of these blokes, I don't know where they'd find $10,000, I don't know how they fill up their cars. "It will have an effect. "But people will find the money if they really want to do it."

Mr Simpson said despite all the changes it still won't stop some dodgy people rorting the system. "It's a good idea. The whole (insulation) idea is a good idea," he said. "Modifying the program - they had to do something to stop the riff raff rorting the people of Australia and the government. "This will be a big improvement but there will always be shonks - I don't care what it is. "There's always a percentage that will screw it up for the 98 per cent who do the right thing."

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