13 Feb 2010

PM under pressure to sack Garrett

1:43 pm on 13 February 2010

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is under pressure to sack Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

The ABC reports Mr Garrett still has his job despite a growing chorus of people saying his department was warned well in advance of serious problems with its ceiling insulation programme.

Foil insulation can become electrified if installed incorrectly. Four deaths have been linked to the programme.

The CFMEU construction union claims that it warned the Government early last year that training programmes for installers were inadequate.

The Opposition has called for Mr Garrett to be sacked. Mr Rudd said on Thursday, however, that he had full confidence in his colleague and described him as a first-class minister.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey told ABC1's Lateline programme that Mr Garrett had been warned on 13 occasions.

Mr Garrett has blamed contractors for failing to follow safety standards put in place by the Government.

In a lengthy statement to Parliament on Thursday, he defended his response to the warnings, saying he had acted appropriately to put training standards in place and ensure safety.