A highly paid project consultant says she provided helpful advice about the botched home insulation program but needed time to think about what it was.
A highly-paid project consultant says although she provided helpful advice about the federal home insulation program, she couldn’t remember what it was.
Janine Leake, who was paid up to $1840 per day, was hired by the Rudd government to provide strategic management assistance on the scheme in 2009.
Ms Leake has told a royal commission how she was a “generalist” who was careful not to overstep the mark when providing advice to the federal environment department.
But under cross-examination by Richard Perry, QC, she was unable to recall what advice she gave.
“You described yourself as a generalist who could give helpful advice to the department,” said Mr Perry, who is representing the families of two men killed under the scheme.
“What helpful ideas … did you, during the time you were there, give the department?”
Ms Leake replied: “I’d have to think about that.”
She had previously told counsel assisting the commission Keith Wilson that she needed time to think about what strategic advice she gave and agreed to provide a supplementary statement to the inquiry.
Former federal environment department assistant secretary Kevin Keeffe had previously given evidence that Ms Leake was used as an expert to guide the ultimate decision makers on the program’s management.
But Ms Leake says Mr Keeffe was managing the program and she did what was asked of her.
Ms Leake said she helped organise workshops and meetings, helped finalise the project plan, updated the project schedule and prepared a stakeholder management plan.
She said she wasn’t an expert on training or safety, and that potential risks were the responsibility of everyone involved in the program.
However, it appeared environment department staffers lacked risk management skills, she said.
Ms Leake also told the inquiry she had doubts about the stimulus project’s tight time frame, but getting money out the door was the government’s priority.
She also had serious concerns about whether an audit and inspection process could be implemented in time.
A coroner has already found the scheme’s rushed roll out was a significant factor in the deaths of three Queenslanders.
A NSW installer was also killed.
The royal commission is investigating what warnings the Rudd government received about the program and whether the four deaths could have been avoided.
The inquiry was adjourned until May 1.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd, former environment minister Peter Garrett and former Labor senator Mark Arbib are expected to appear in the last week of public hearings which begin on May 12.