13 Dec 2013

Batts inquiry start date announced

4:52 am on 13 December 2013

A Royal Commission into a Labor home insulation scheme which cost four lives and caused extensive property damage, will begin in Brisbane just before Christmas.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd launched the $A2.8 billion scheme in 2008 to inject cash into the economy during the global financial crisis. It ran until 2010.

The commission, which is investigating whether the then-government's practices contributed to the deaths and damage, will commence with a preliminary hearing in Brisbane on the morning of 23 December.

Mr Ian Hanger AM QC has been appointed to head the inquiry. AAP reports he has been asked whether laws or practices should be altered to "prevent the recurrence of any failure identified by the inquiry".

In July, a Queensland coroner found the rushed rollout of the scheme was a significant factor in the deaths of three batt installers Mitchell Sweeney, Matthew Fuller and Rueben Barnes.

In New South Wales, Marcus Wilson, 19, died of heat stroke on his first day on the job.

The coroner cited "inadequate" training and "lax" supervision as factors in the tragedies.

Anyone who wishes to appear before the commission as a witness must apply by 4pm (AEDT) 18 December.