Former Environment Minister Peter Garrett began giving evidence this afternoon, at the Royal Commission into the botched Home Insulation scheme.

He says he didn’t know of the risks to workers until after a Queensland man died on the job, comments echoed by his then-colleague, Mark Arbib.

Tom Armstrong reports.


Ex-Labor Senator Mark Arbib faced a second day of questioning, this time from lawyers representing the families of four young men killed during the program’s roll-out.

Justin Sweeney’s brother Mitchell was electrocuted while installing insulation. He says the family is eager to hear from those in charge.

Justin Sweeney, Victim’s brother: “It’s a long time coming for the family. Obviously Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd are the key stakeholders in the program so we are very interest to hear what they knew and didn’t know.”

Mr Arbib admitted today the scheme had issues.

Mark Arbib, Former Senator: “I would say, obviously policies should have been tighter and regulation greater.”

Former Environment Minister Peter Garrett was due to appear before the commission this morning. However, the examination of Mr Arbib has taken longer than expected.

Peter Garrett started his account after lunch, saying he wasn’t informed of the risk to workers before a Queensland man died on the job.

He confirmed he bore “ultimate responsibility,” for the roll-out but insists public servants didn’t mention the dangers before the first death.

Peter Garrett, Former Environment Minister: “As a government minister delivering a program, there’s a responsibility to the best of your capacity to ensure that it’s delivered in a way which minimises risk. We’re never going to get rid of risk altogether.”

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is scheduled to give evidence tomorrow.

Tom Armstrong, QUT News.