Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Economic Stimuli

When retired ex Minster for pink batts Peter Garrett writes his memoirs, I expect within the tome will be an explanation about the pink batts scheme, which was free ceiling insulation for all houses without it or replacement of worn out insulation, as part of economic stimulus plan for Australia during the Global Financial Crisis.

We may well know before then as there is to be a Royal Commission into the scheme because separately four young men who were installing batts died. The RC is purely political. It is an area within the respective State Coroners' Offices jurisdiction, but the present government want some blood to be spattered over the Labor Party.

That is the scheme was put in place too hurriedly, and poorly administered and monitored, which must surely be the conclusion of RC. The minister responsible, Garrett, seems to have known it was wrong, but he could not or would not stand up to the power of Prime Minister Rudd.

Well, we shall see what the RC comes up with.

Now dear taxpayer, why did you not buy a new digital tv to replace my mother's analogue tv? It would have been a good bit cheaper for you.

Analogue television signals in Melbourne were shut down in early December. A government funded scheme was set up to help pensioners who could hot afford a new digital television to receive a digital set top box and for it to be installed and the home owner shown how to use it.  That's all I thought it was.

Although our family was divided about whether to buy Mother a new tv or to use our spare digital recorder which works like a set top box, it was decided give the digital recorder a try. Mother was reluctant. She came up with stories of pensioners having set top boxes catching fire, exploding, not working etc. She tried a few games, but she was not in a position of power because of her not receiving an electric bill for nine months and knowing we would pay most of it if it arrived. It was unreasonable of her to expect us to buy a tv too. She had R put the box away in a cupboard but Bone Doctor insisted getting it out and connecting it up. She no doubt was aiming to sit in front of the tv the day the analogue signal went off and calling one of us to tell us her tv would not work. I had previously tried the device and it worked fine with her television and Bone Doctor did the same when she connected it up.

The first day all was ok. The second day she said she heard clicking noises and it would not work. She knew the set top box scheme was administered by Social Security so she called them and someone rang her back to make an appointment to visit her to see what the problem was.

The next day she tried the set top box again and it worked and continued to work fine. Nevertheless, she did not cancel the appointment. The technician turned up and told her that the aerial was very old and needed to be replaced. If the cost was coming out of her pocket, or ours for that matter, we would have said no, the tv is working fine and there is nothing wrong with the picture.

But we weren't paying. You, dear taxpayer footed the bill for Mother now having the tallest tv aerial in town, anchored by guy wires through the roof tiles into the roof timbers, then it being wired into the house with a new plug with some kind of interference suppressor. I should think the full price would be over $1000. Why didn't you just buy her a $600 HD digital TV?

We thank you dear taxpayer.  Hang on, I'm one of you! Mother costs me one way or t'other.

12 comments:

  1. I'm glad to hear your Mum got something out of the government. Don't forget, she would have had to 'learn' how to operate a new TV, which can be difficult for the elderly, I should know.

    About the insulation scheme. In fairness, it was all the shonks that came out of the woodwork to jump on the easy money bandwagon trying to rip off some easy money. Probably not one labor voter among them. I personally know one of them who employed kids without training them But how could he, he knew nothing about ceiling insulation himself.

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    1. Bill, I have to explain to her three times how to get Channel 10. She is too slow to press 1 then 0, so she has to used the channel up button. I think it has sunk in now.

      That the insulation shonks would come out of the woodwork was quite predictable and measures should have been put in place to keep a tight reign on them. But the gov wanted the money spent quickly, so who knows how it might have been different if it was tightly controlled.

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  2. I am intrigued (and dismayed) that in the furphy over the pink batts debacle no-one has thrown any mud in the direction of the shonky operators, who leapt aboard the band wagon with little thought for the safety of their staff.
    And yes, the RC is political - but when are they not?

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    1. EC, isn't it known that they were responsible? That is my point. The free insulation scheme needed to have tight controls to keep the shonky operators out.

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  3. Yes, what EC said about the shonky operators with the pink batts hoo-ha, if reputable operators/installers had done the jobs, all would have been well.
    Remember the economic stimulus payment where jokes were made about pensioners wasting the handout on big screen digital TVs? Well, that's what I did with my $800. I didn't need it to pay off bills or buy groceries and the idea WAS for people to spend and stimulate the economy, so I bought a digital TV, only one size larger than my old analogue, but I had no later worries about getting a set top box and trying to connect it to the old TV.

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    1. That is true River, but I think it may have taken longer than the government wanted it to. Wisely spent money on the tv. The tv wasn't so bad, but wasting the money on gambling certainly was.

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  4. I don't think any young person going into the paid workforce for the first time should be stuck in unemployment. It is a soul destroyer and a system that will see our young people going overseas.

    If we have to have economic stimulus packages or government sponsored jobs, so be it. Unemployment costs far more, in any case.




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    1. I agree Hels, and we already do it to a greater or lesser degree at times, as does probably every country in the world.

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  5. Some things sound really absurd.
    We have another TV system, all buildings have cable TV connections which are already installed with electricity cables and gaz connections when they were built. Belgium was the first completely cabled country in the world ! We had already the cable in 63, but the program on TV started only at 6 pm and there were 2 channels ! So the cables are still there. Digital TV is a private thing, you take it or not.that goes out of your own pocket.

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    1. Very interesting to hear how it works there, Gattina. I suppose now nearly everyone takes digital tv.

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  6. Economic stimulus should have done something useful for the whole country like undergrounding all the electicity wiring, or re-doing the worst of the roads instead of keeping Mr Harvey & overseas electronics factories in business. The batts thing was a great idea in theory - but nothing will replace proper planning and risk management processes. Spoken like a true bureaucrat!!

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    1. Red, you plan might result in a number of permanent jobs. That wouldn't do at all. We'll save the undergrounding of wires until the country goes into a nose dive and it will susso work.

      Yes Sir Humphrey, but at times Sir Humphreys are needed.

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