Mr NORTHE (Morwell) (12:33): My question is to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. In regard to the government’s renewable energy target legislation of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, I was categorically advised during a briefing on this legislation that no modelling had been undertaken to understand the potential impacts of this target upon Latrobe Valley power stations or the Latrobe Valley community. Last Friday on Gippsland ABC Radio you said, ‘We know with’ our renewable energy targets ‘there won’t be any detrimental impacts’ to the region of the Latrobe Valley ‘and we are very confident of that’. Despite no Victorian renewable energy target (VRET) modelling having been undertaken for my community, you say at the same time there will not be any detrimental impacts on the Latrobe Valley region. Minister, can you explain what evidence you have to substantiate this statement?
Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes) (12:34): I thank the member for Morwell for his question. My comments have been very clear in terms of the prospective improvements and benefits of the VRET program to not just the broader economy of Victoria but in particular the benefits that are attributable to that in terms of the people of the Latrobe Valley and the Gippsland region. We know that through very strong and ambitious renewable energy targets—50 per cent by 2030—we are going to be creating more than 24 000 jobs by 2030. The benefits of that will go predominately to regions right across the state but also of course to the Gippsland and the Morwell regions.
I really want to reassure the member for Morwell that no-one can be in any doubt as to who is the strongest advocate for the people of Latrobe Valley—it is this government. And it is this government that has got the strongest record in terms of investment in businesses and jobs growth because we do not leave people behind. That is absolutely the case. We have supported more than 40 businesses thus far in the Latrobe Valley, creating more than 2000 jobs. These are real jobs that are making a big difference to communities in the valley. There is more of course to come. Some of those jobs are really important for us to highlight because they are directly related to our government’s commitments here—like I said, more than 2000 jobs. They include, for example, the Solar Victoria Solar Homes office, which has been moved to the Latrobe Valley, to more than—
Mr Northe: On a point of order, Speaker, just in terms of relevance, my question related to some comments the minister had made stating that there would not be any detrimental impact to the Latrobe Valley region. My question asked: what evidence does she have available to her that she can provide to me and the house? What evidence does she have in her possession that she can articulate? She has not come anywhere near that particular question, and I ask you to ask her to come back to answering the question that was asked.
The SPEAKER: The minister is being relevant to the question asked. The minister to continue answering the question.
Ms D’AMBROSIO: Thank you, Speaker. I do reassure the member for Morwell that so far these fantastic jobs have been created, but it is not stopping there. There are already several exciting projects that are in development of course. That includes the development idea around the Delburn wind farm, the SEA Electric vehicle plant, where there is active— (Time expired)
Mr NORTHE (Morwell) (12:38): Minister, contrary to your opinion that the VRET will not have a detrimental impact on my community, I note an article in the AustralianFinancial Review on 21 August, which says:
EnergyAustralia chief executive Catherine Tanna has insisted that Victoria’s renewable energy and emission reductions targets could force an early closure of the company’s Yallourn brown-coal generator in the Latrobe Valley …
Further, and in reference to the lack of modelling on the VRET legislation, a Latrobe Valley Express article just yesterday noted:
Latrobe City Council had also called for similar modelling at a recent parliamentary inquiry into tackling climate change …
Minister, given this issue is causing such uncertainty in my community, will you now commit to undertaking an urgent and comprehensive modelling analysis of your 50 per cent renewable energy target, and how would it impact Latrobe Valley power stations and the Latrobe Valley community?
Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes) (12:39): I thank the member for Morwell for the supplementary question. Respectfully I would disagree with Catherine Tanna’s conjecture when it comes to any impacts of our policies on EnergyAustralia and the Yallourn power station. I reiterate the very, very clear and palpable evidence that with the ageing nature of any infrastructure, it becomes less reliable, especially when there is no investment that is accompanying it. We can only look towards the last two months in Victoria in terms of the many, many and prolonged outages—unplanned outages—of some of the generators in the Latrobe Valley to show and demonstrate how vulnerable the position is that EnergyAustralia—
Mr Northe: On a point of order, Speaker, in terms of relevance, I understand we can have a debate about reliability, but my question was specifically about whether the government would commit to undertaking some modelling to understand the impacts of the VRET upon Latrobe Valley power stations and the Latrobe Valley community. I ask her to come back and answer the question.
The SPEAKER: I understand the point of order raised by the member for Morwell. It was a long question, and the minister is being relevant to the question that was asked.
Ms D’AMBROSIO: Thank you, Speaker. I can reassure the member for Morwell that all due diligence has been undertaken in the work to inform the development of our renewable energy targets by 2030— (Time expired)