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Question with Notice: Climate Strike Demands

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Sam Hibbins MP
Member for Prahran
11 September 2019

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) : My question is to the Premier. Next week there will be another climate strike, again led by students striking from school. Whilst the Premier has stated his support for the striking students, his government has not given support to their demand of 100 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030. What does the Premier say in response to young people demanding 100 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030 to ensure a safe future?

Mr ANDREWS (Mulgrave—Premier): I thank the member for Prahran for his question. If I can just go back one step, there was a day of action not long ago, and I was asked by many in the media what my view on students being involved in the political and democratic process was. I came under some criticism when I made the point that I would be proud if my kids were involved in that cause or lots of other causes, so that is my view. That will not necessarily be a universally popular view, but that is my view. The more people are involved in these and other issues, the better. It is also worth pointing out that younger people in our community often get a pretty rough deal and a sledge for not being involved in the community, for not caring, for not having passion about today, tomorrow and the future. I think that some of the examples quoted, and others, really put the lie to that. In my experience
so many young people across our community are absolutely passionate about these issues. Now, on the issue of 100 per cent versus our target of 50 per cent, we have laid out our commitments in relation to renewable energy. They have been supported by the Victorian community, and we are in the midst of the biggest undertaking in terms of additional capacity sourced from renewables in the nation—certainly in the history of our state and indeed beyond that. Now, I know some are disappointed at the fact that thermal power generation will need to play a role in our system for a period of time. That transition does take time, and it is made more difficult—and I do not make this point for any partisan purpose, but it is just a matter of fact—

Mr M O’Brien interjected.

Mr ANDREWS: ‘Heaven forbid’, says the Leader of the Opposition. Indeed, heaven forbid that we might have a national government with no coherent energy policy. Heaven forbid that. The work that we are all trying to do—I would certainly hope we are all trying to do it, although some who do not like to be mentioned would have abolished the Victorian renewable energy target, and where would that have left us not just in terms of megawatts, not just in terms of security of supply, but thousands of jobs—

Members interjecting.

Mr ANDREWS: Here we go, still speaking out against renewable energy—

Mr M O’Brien: On a point of order, Speaker, again the Premier is attempting to verbal me from his chair. My point was that Victoria currently suffers the highest power prices in the country, a matter of some amusement to those opposite, including the Premier, apparently.

The SPEAKER: Order! I ask the Premier to come back to the question, without interjections from those opposite. The Premier.

Mr ANDREWS: The only amusing thing is the fragility of some, the absolute fragility of some who will remain nameless. The issue is—

Members interjecting.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition!

Mr ANDREWS: Well, there was not much renewable energy that got away between 2010 and 2014, and that is not a partisan point. It is the history of our state. How much wind that was not permitted before they came to office? Zero. So we will not be lectured on renewable energy or energy in any way by some who wasted, frittered away their opportunity, squandered their opportunity, did not have the ticker, did not have the wit or the wisdom—but the volume it seems—to get on and do their job.

Members interjecting.

Mr ANDREWS: Have a lie down, mate.

Members interjecting.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Premier has concluded his answer.

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) : On a supplementary question, given the evidence is saying that we have got around about 10 years to act to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change and Victoria is burning around a million tonnes of coal a week, does the Premier accept that even with the government’s current renewable energy targets Victoria will still be creating millions of tonnes of carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants every year for decades?

Mr ANDREWS (Mulgrave—Premier) : As I was indicating, the government made commitments at the election last year and indeed at the election back in 2014, and we are getting on
and honouring each and every one of those important commitments, particularly as they relate to renewable energy. Now, that may not necessarily please those in the Green political party, but I would respectfully put it to them that our targets—the trajectory that we have set both the Victorian community and the Victorian economy on—are realistic, can be achieved and will be achieved. That is the sort of leadership that we offer. That is the sort of administration that we have a track record of properly delivering. It may not be universally popular and it may not necessarily suit the world view of some, but it is realistic, it is leading our nation, it is real and it will be delivered. That is the contrast, and it is very clearly on display in terms of our policy and this question.

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Sam Hibbins MP
Member for Prahran
11 September 2019
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