The Insulation Council of Australia and New Zealand (ICANZ) today called for a “fair go” for the insulation industry after a survey conducted following the most recent inquiry into the Home Insulation Program (HIP) showed almost one in five Australians remain unconvinced on the safety of insulation.
ICANZ Chief Executive Officer, Dennis D’Arcy said the survey of nearly 1,300 people was conducted from 5-7 July 2013 and commissioned by ICANZ in the wake of latest damning revelations surrounding the HIP and showed that 17 per cent of those surveyed believed that insulation was unsafe.
“These findings throw the future of this industry which employs 4,000 people into further jeopardy,” Mr D’Arcy said.
“Australians understand that you can’t have an energy efficient home without insulation. It’s become a standard inclusion in every new home built, and is installed into Australian homes every single day without incident. It’s devastating news that one in five consumers are questioning the safety of our products because of poor practices undertaken as part of the HIP.”
“The products manufactured by ICANZ members – glasswool made using spun recycled glass – are safe because they are non-combustible, will not conduct electricity, and if installed by an approved installer are backed by extensive warranties.”
“As millions of Australians already know glasswool insulation, when installed correctly, makes homes more comfortable to live in and help save energy – it’s part of the reason why household energy demand has decreased over the last few years.”
“The HIP was an unprecedented program that created its own unique set of problems not the least of which was doubling the size of the industry with untrained installers within several months. These new entrants have long since left and what remains today are the traditional experienced core of the industry that has been professionally insulating new and existing buildings for many years.”
“The industry has also learnt lessons from the HIP and vastly improved safety requirements that are now being introduced into Australian Standards for installing insulation.”
Mr D’Arcy said ICANZ had supported the introduction of the HIP but even before the program started had advocated for greater safety requirements and stressed that only products that were fit-for-purpose should be used. The use of reflective sarking products installed as ceiling insulation was never supported by ICANZ.
He said that the industry remains deeply saddened by the deaths of four young installers under the program.
“As the findings of the Coronial Inquest make clear, the greatest tragedy from the HIP is that these deaths could have been avoided.”
Mr D’Arcy said that the early termination of the HIP meant that over one million Australian households had missed out on insulating their homes and continued to pay higher energy prices as a result.
“In 2012 ICANZ completed a research study that estimated ceiling insulation saved the average Australian household approximately $299 in energy bills,” Mr D’Arcy said.
“On the latest available data, there are still 1.275 million households in Australia that do not have ceiling insulation and will continue paying avoidable, higher energy prices every year.”
“These households are paying a whopping $326 million per year extra on their energy bills.”
Mr D’Arcy today called on all political parties to detail their plans for helping householders improve their energy efficiency which would include helping rebuild confidence in insulation.
“The industry has been a political football for too long. Enough is enough – all the industry wants is a fair go and a chance to get on with the job of helping Australian reduce their energy bills.”
“We need to draw a line in the sand between what happened during the HIP and where the insulation industry will go in the future – it’s the only way the industry will get a fair go.”
Dennis D’Arcy is CEO of the Insulation Council of Australia and New Zealand (ICANZ). ICANZ represents major insulation manufacturers and retailers that account for more than 70 per cent of all insulation products in Australia.
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