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The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Foil insulation suspended from Home Insulation Program

Media release
9 February 2010

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Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, has suspended the use of foil insulation nation-wide under the Home Insulation Program, effective today.

"Today we have taken action to suspend foil insulation from use under the Home Insulation Program," Mr Garrett said.

"Safety of householders and installers is an absolute priority for the program.

"Metallic foil is conductive and when installed incorrectly, without undertaking the mandatory risk assessments and in breach of clear program requirements, this product can be dangerous.

"Unfortunately, despite strong measures taken to date including banning the use of metal fasteners for foil insulation in November last year, we are still seeing evidence of foil installations which do not meet clear program requirements.

"That is why we have taken steps today to suspend the use of foil under this program.

"I have instructed my Department to continue urgent consultations with technical experts and electrical safety authorities, as well as the foil insulation industry, and based on the outcome of these discussions I will consider what additional steps will be required if foil insulation is to remain eligible for a rebate under the Home Insulation Program.

"As I have said consistently, safety is the absolute priority under this program. That is why we have already raised safety standards, making them tougher than those in the Australian Standards and the Building Code.

"We believe that safe use of products, mandatory training or minimum skill requirements, combined with formal risk assessments and enhanced training materials, are the best ways to ensure safety for householders and installers.

"It's non-negotiable - all installers must undertake a formal risk assessment before installing any kind of insulation."

Minister Garrett said the Government will not tolerate anyone who breaches the Program Guidelines. Installers have already been struck off the Installer Provider Register, and that will continue to happen if there has been a breach of the guidelines.

Mandatory training standards for all insulation installers commence from this Friday, February 12.

The Government will continue to work closely with industry groups and continue the process of safety audits.

Any households with immediate electrical safety concerns about insulation in their home should contact a licensed electrician.

If households are in any doubt regarding an installation in their home or require further information, including regarding product eligibility and safety requirements under the program, they should contact the Department's Energy Efficient Homes Hotline on 1800 808 571.

Commonwealth of Australia