Consideration in detail: Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Bill 2017

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) — Minister, in May 2011 you said that the then government’s decision to keep Hazelwood fully operational was:

… disgraceful. Our state must be looking at ways to lower our dependence on brown coal and finding new ways to generate energy. Partially shutting Hazelwood was part of this process.

We have seen the government walk away from negotiations to partially close Hazelwood power and help Victoria move away from its dependence on brown coal. Minister, given your public statement on closing coal-fired power stations, will the Victorian renewable energy target (VRET) in any way impact on the commercial viability of any other coal-fired power stations, such as Yallourn, and result in bringing forward their closure dates? I particularly refer to the 40 per cent target in 2025, noting that Yallourn is scheduled for closure at 2032.

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) (By leave) — Minister, you have stated time and time again that the Victorian renewable energy target will bring down prices and that it is a supply issue. When questioned many times about the pricing situation, you have said that prices will actually come down in mid-2018, that we will see a reduction in energy prices because our signalling of the VRET will indicate that prices will reduce as a result of your policies. Mid-2018 is July. Minister, could you state publicly to this house that if prices do not reduce by July 2018 because of your policies, you will resign as minister of this portfolio?