Compensation for next of kin and possible disciplinary action against bureaucrats are part of the government’s response to the home insulation inquiry.
Grieving families will be compensated and disciplinary action considered against bureaucrats under the federal government’s response to the home insulation inquiry.
Royal commissioner Ian Hanger found the deaths – of Queenslanders Matthew Fuller, 25, Rueben Barnes, 16, and Mitchell Sweeney, 22 and NSW man Marcus Wilson, 19 – which occurred while installing insulation under the Labor government program were avoidable.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the government owed it to the four men’s families that such a tragedy never occurred again.
While a full response will be finalised by the end of the year, Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann have been asked to come up with options for compensation.
“The Barnes, Fuller, Sweeney and Wilson families should know that government won’t walk away,” Mr Abbott told parliament on Tuesday.
The government accepted responsibility and would do its best to make amends.
Mr Hanger’s report released earlier in September recommended the public service commissioner consider action against the senior bureaucrats involved, who by law must act with “care and diligence”.
Mr Abbott said an independent expert would be appointed to look at the role of ministers and officials in the home insulation scheme, set up the Rudd government to boost economic growth after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.
Employment Minister Eric Abetz has been asked to advise on a way to “assess the report’s findings about public servants against the Australian Public Service’s code of conduct”.
Mr Abbott said this wasn’t a “witch-hunt” but it must be recognised the scheme was a “tragic failure” by bureaucrats, politicians and businesses.
The prime minister will also discuss possible changes to workplace safety laws with state and territory leaders at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra on October 10.
Businesses adversely affected by the scheme could be compensated under a plan to be developed by the attorney-general and industry and finance ministers.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said his thoughts were with the families and friends of those who had died.
“I’ve never seen people receive compensation who wouldn’t rather they could turn back the clock,” he said.
“Every death in the workplace is a tragedy.”