Andy Gough.
Andy Gough.

PWC to audit Green Loans scheme

A GOVERNMENT investigation into the botched Green Loans program has been dismissed as blame shifting by one of the scheme’s local workers.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett yesterday announced that audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers would examine the way the training of home sustainability assessors was handled under the scheme.

At the same time he said the Environment Department was working to fix problems with the overloaded call centre, which assessors need to contact to arrange jobs and invoices, but which many have been unable to contact for weeks.

The announcement follows a report in The Northern Star that many assessors were being left without incomes because they could not contact the centre.

Assessors also questioned the quality of training being offered, with one saying people in the course were told they would be able to ‘recommend’ products to house-holders during an assessment.

“It’s clear that some elements of the program are not working as effectively as they should,” Mr Garrett said in a statement.

“It is clear there is room for improvement in relation to the call centre for assessor and householder bookings as well as to speed up the issuing of household assessment reports.”

Local assessor and high-profile local Greens member Andy Gough said the call centre problem was the program’s most critical issue.

However, he said the Minister’s office had been aware for some time of the numbers of assessors being registered – initially set at 1500 nationwide but now estimated at between 5000 and 10,000 – and of the call centre problems for some time.

He said he was concerned the Government would ‘put the blame’ on the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors, the non-profit body administering the program – for issues it had already known about.

Federal Greens Deputy Leader Christine Milne dismissed the announcement as a ‘thinly disguised move to take the pressure off his department during Senate Estimates hearings’.

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