A call centre operator with no construction experience sought to profit from the federal government's home insulation scheme with fatal consequences, a Brisbane inquest has heard.
Vision and Network Australia registered with the government's Home Insulation Program in 2009 after its director realised his database of homeowners could be used to turn a profit, the Queensland Coroner's Court heard on Tuesday.
However the money-making scheme turned into a nightmare when a Queensland man employed by the call centre's electrical contractor was electrocuted in October 2009.
An inquest into the death of Matthew Fuller and two others under the axed Home Insulation Program is underway in Brisbane.
Vision and Network director Hugh Kirk told the court he was hounded by television stations and radio reporters and had to seek medical help after the death of Mr Fuller.
The 25-year-old was killed when the metal staples he was using to secure aluminium foil insulation to a ceiling in Meadowbrook in Brisbane's south, pierced an electrical cable.
Mr Kirk said his call centre had simply handled the customer care side of the operation, cold-calling owner-occupiers to inform them of the government scheme and in many cases setting up installations.
"We were a marketing company that saw an opportunity in the fact that we had a database of people that were owner-occupiers in their homes," he told the court.
"We were managing the customers."
He said he engaged what he thought was a reputable electrical contractor called Queensland Home Insulation to carry out installations and relied completely on their knowledge and experience.
Under cross-examination Mr Kirk admitted Vision and Network made a gross profit of $2.7 million in seven months from the scheme, but said most of that went to the installer.
Vision and Network later faced 666 claims that it had carried out non-compliant work, including 149 instances of using banned metal staples to install foil insulation, the court heard.
The company eventually deregistered itself from the axed program and was left with a "glut" of insulation material in a Brisbane warehouse which was later lost in a flood, Mr Kirk said.
The Queensland coroner is also probing the deaths of Mitchell Sweeney, 22, and Rueben Barnes, 16.
Mr Sweeney was killed laying foil insulation in far north Queensland in 2010, while Rueben Barnes died installing batts in central Queensland in 2009.
The inquest continues.
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