Mr Garrett said the Government had already scrutinised thousands of claims and is inspecting hundreds of homes to ensure the Government's quality standards are being met, and today's expanded measures would build on that.
The tough new measures include:
- A ban on quoting without a physical site inspection, except in remote areas
- Publication of a market-based pricing guide, with automatic scrutiny of installers charging above the upper limit
- Extra field auditors, boosting roof inspections to 600 a week
- Extra desk-top auditors to scrutinise claims.
'Today's measures build on the tough controls already in place as part of our comprehensive audit and compliance program - the Government takes a very dim view of anyone abusing the ceiling insulation program and we will not hesitate to remove installers from the register if they are shown to be doing the wrong thing,' Mr Garrett said.
'We look at every claim and we're working closely with the Fair Trading Offices around Australia and the ACCC to help them enforce consumers' legal rights, as well as checking compliance with the terms and conditions of the installer register.'
Mr Garrett said most insulation installers on the Installer Provider Register are doing the right thing, but any disreputable behaviour is unacceptable.
'We have received a very small number of complaints so far - less than 500 out of 200,000 claims - but every complaint is taken seriously,' Mr Garrett said.
'Our auditors are carrying out hundreds of roof inspections and we're gearing up rapidly to reach 600 a week - so far the vast majority of inspections are showing quality work and we're working with Fair Trading where we identify problems.'
For anyone who has had an issue with their insulation, as with any other purchase, the first step is to discuss the problem with the installer to see if the issue can be resolved. If householders are unable to resolve the issue with the installer, they should contact their state or territory Fair Trading Office.
Mr Garrett urged householders to know their rights under the program and report any suspect behaviour online at www.environment.gov.au/energyefficiency or by calling 1800 808 571.
'If you suspect someone is taking advantage of the program the Government wants to hear about it,' Mr Garrett said.
'The Government is writing to every householder who has work done under this program, seeking their feedback to identify any issues - 20,000 of those letters are going out every week.
'Any reports of dodgy behaviour feed into our audit and compliance program - tens of thousands of homes will be checked, installers will be struck off the register if they are found to be abusing the program and legal action may follow.'
Guidelines on the new arrangements - including the quote requirement for a physical inspection - will be available from 1 September 2009.
The Government will continue to closely monitor the program and will consider implementing further compliance measures where necessary.