Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (ANAO Audit Report No.12 2010–11; Commonwealth of Australia, 2010; ISBN 0642811563)
When Labor spun open its home insulation subsidy in 2009, a thousand insulation dingoes all across the country started fighting to get their muzzles under the spigot.
When the first one phoned, I explained that I already had grey insulating powder in the crawlspace. When their tradesman came, he found I had too much grey insulating powder to qualify for the subsidy.
I explained all this to the second insulation company, but they said they’d send a man anyway. Their man confirmed the verdict. He explained that I didn’t qualify because the insulating powder rose up higher than the tops of the joists.
When I told the third insulation company that two others had already found that I didn’t qualify, they said they’d send an installation team. I told them that insulating powder rose up higher than the tops of the joists. They said that the team would have four men. I asked why they thought it worthwhile to send four men just on the off chance that both previous insulators had made a mistake. They said that it wouldn’t cost me anything.
At first, the team drove to the wrong end of North Road. They phoned to ask how close I lived to the beach. The company must’ve given them the wrong address.
Ten minutes later, they phoned to ask if I lived near a Red Rooster. I said no, but ten minutes after that they phoned to ask which Red Rooster I lived near.
It took another three phone calls to get them to my apartment. When they arrived, they looked like a hunting party who had lost their fight with the elk. They had ripped-up clothes and one of them had a scab that ran from the bridge of his nose up to his forehead.
I told them that two other tradesmen had both determined that I didn’t qualify for the subsidy and that insulating powder in my crawlspace rose up higher than the joists. Their headman looked inside the crawlspace and decided that he wanted the money.
“No worries,” he said, “we’ll just put the batts on top of it.”
By recording the roof’s area as twice its actual size and then authorising a rebate to bring the cost back to $1200, they billed the government for the maximum possible amount.
This shows part of the surveyor’s certificate for the strata plan:
It shows an area of about seventy-five square meters (or eight squares).
This shows the invoice the installers left me:
It records the area as one-hundred and thirty square meters (or fourteen squares). Also, the two items add up to fifty-eight dollars more than the total.