Media Releases

19
Mar
2013

Electricity: security of supply (20/03/13)

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) — My question is to the Minister for Energy and Resources. Could the minister update the house on Victoria’s available capacity for its electricity system and if there are any potential threats to that supply?

Mr KOTSIRAS (Minister for Energy and Resources) — I thank the member for Caulfield for his question and his interest in Victoria’s energy supply and security. A secure and reliable energy supply is vital to our economy, to our lifestyle and to our wellbeing. This government is committed to ensuring that all Victorians have confidence in their energy supply — that is, to provide the service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yes, there will be challenges — there will be emergencies and natural disasters — but Victorians deserve and need to have access to a secure and reliable energy supply.

During Victoria’s high period we need approximately 11 000 megawatts of electricity, but it depends on the time, and it depends on the weather and on the month. For example, tomorrow — Friday — we will need approximately 6200 megawatts of electricity.

The member asked me whether there were any threats to this power supply. On 31 January the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) gave notice of its intention that its members at the Loy Yang B power station would take industrial action. This included a 1-hour stop work, bans on working on higher duties, a ban on working overtime and bans limiting the output of individual generators to 400 megawatts. Unfortunately it goes further. This week the CFMEU decided to take a 24-hour industrial strike. We will lose approximately 14 per cent of our electricity supply. This action is irresponsible; it is a slap in the face for Victorian families. This is telling businesses not to invest in Victoria.

This is threatening the jobs of workers, whom this union claims to represent. We know that the CFMEU has a history of holding Victorians to ransom. The leadership does not support its members, and we know the CFMEU is now spreading its industrial thuggery from the building sites to the power sector.

On 5 and 6 June last year there was an incident where water entered a mine. There was an individual who put out a press release on the same day, demanding that the government ensure that there is ample electricity. That person has been silent. That person has not said a single word. That person is the member for Mill Park. Her mates in the — —

Ms Allan — On a point of order, Speaker, we simply ask that you apply the standing orders fairly and pull the minister up for debating under standing order — —

An honourable member interjected.
Ms Allan — Under standing order 58(1)(b), all right? Get with the program! Speaker, I ask you to do your job and bring the minister back to order.

The SPEAKER — Order! I uphold the point of order. I ask the minister not to reflect on members of the opposition.

Mr KOTSIRAS — This behaviour is unacceptable. We must condemn this behaviour. Every Victorian must condemn this behaviour. The Leader of the Opposition should condemn this behaviour and

not — —

Ms Allan — On a point of order, Speaker, the minister is clearly defying your ruling. We would not have to continue to take these points of order if you would apply the standing orders, as we request.

The SPEAKER — Order! I do not uphold the point of order.

Mr KOTSIRAS — We on this side care for Victorians, and we care for Victorian businesses. We want businesses to do business in Victoria. Unlike the Labor Party, we will look after Victoria and Victoria’s interests.

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