Installer talks down digital TV Household Assistance Scheme fears

Digital TV installer: "our workforce are appropriately trained"

One of the contracted installers for the digital TV switchover Household Assistance Scheme has moved to reject possible comparisons to the Government's controversial home insulation and education infrastructure programs. Skybridge, a satellite and terrestrial network installer, has already contracted work in regional South Australia and Victoria as part of the Scheme, and is set to deliver up to 70 per cent of the installation work for Queensland's switchover.

Read our explanation of the Government's Household Assistance Scheme, and look at the 'talking' set-top box that the Government has been developing for blind citizens.

A statement released by Skybridge founder and director Glen Makin says the company "takes the responsibility of ensuring [its] workforce [is] appropriately trained very seriously." Makin told GoodGearGuide that Skybridge wished to respond to recent coverage: "We felt it important to correct some of the misconceptions about the scheme, and the skills and experience of installers delivering the program."

"Every technician engaged by Skybridge to provide services under the schemes, as a minimum, adhere[s] to all of the relevant technical and occupational safety policies, procedures and accreditations required by the Government."

The $2.45billion home insulation scheme was shut down in April 2010 after being suspended in February of that year, after it was found that unscrupulous operators were using poorly trained or untrained workers for installation work. The home insulation scheme was linked to 205 house fires. Four insulation installers died between October 2009 and February 2010, and widespread criticism of fraudulent contractors and poor installation work led to the Government implementing a further safety assurance program. According to a Government Web site, the Australian Federal Police is conducting ongoing investigations into "possible fraud" and "administrative errors by installers" related to the home insulation scheme.

Skybridge's statement says that the installer seeks to provide work to appropriately accredited local technicians wherever possible. During the recent digital TV switchovers in South Australia and regional Victoria, Skybridge used the services of around 90 local businesses to undertake set-top box and antenna installation work.

These sub-contracted installers are checked by Skybridge to ensure they meet necessary standards: "We constantly monitor the quality of workmanship and compliance to OHS standards throughout the delivery of the program."

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