Insulation rebate cut cops blast
FORMER rugby league international and now North Coast home insulator Craig Salvatore reckons the government has “ripped out the goal posts” by slashing the home insulation rebate.
On Sunday, Environment Minister Peter Garrett cut the rebate by 25 per cent in order to drive “greater efficiencies in the market and improve competition” – reducing the maximum rebate from $1600 per house to $1200.
“I believe this will halve our business overnight and we’ll have to let two of our five employees go by Christmas,” said Mr Salvatore, who owns and operates Crest Insulation.
“I did two quotes this morning. One will have to fork out $700, the other $450. Neither is now interested.”
Homeowner Andrew McCall of Lismore Heights has just had his home insulated under the scheme. If he signed up now he would have to pay $480 out of his own pocket – a cost he believes would have led him to seriously reconsider.
Mr Salvatore is a builder who completely re-geared his business to join the insulation project and has invested tens of thousands of dollars based on the government’s promise of a two-year project at $1600 per home.
“They haven’t moved the goal posts, they’ve ripped them out,” Mr Salvatore said.
“How can the government do this and be serious about economic stimulus and the environment?” he asked.
“Just do the maths; this will make Peter Garrett responsible for the biggest job losses this year.”
A spokesman for Mr Garrett told the Tweed Daily News the rebate was implemented at a time when consumer confidence was low and the scheme was now running well above projections.
“It’s time to take pressure off the market and we are confident we will continue to see a strong uptake,” the spokesman said.
He compared the adjustment to the solar hot water rebate reduction where homeowners were willing to contribute to the cost based on potential future cost savings.
Mr Salvatore countered that by saying everyone needed hot water, but people who have lived without insulation won’t be so keen to take it up.
Labourer Nathan Copland was worried.
“I took this on because I thought it would be stable for two years,” he said.