Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Questions without notice

Government performance


Government performance

Jordan CRUGNALE (Bass) (16:09): My question is for the Premier. Can our Premier please outline how the government is continuing to do what matters for Victorians and what the government will deliver for our Victorian community, which so resoundingly endorsed the government’s positive and optimistic plan for our state?

Daniel ANDREWS (Mulgrave – Premier) (16:09): I am delighted to receive an outstanding question from the member for Bass and to congratulate her on her return to this place. That is not by accident; she is an outstanding local member who works very hard. She is very passionate about her community, and it is very pleasing to see her back here again to continue that hard work for her beautiful part of our state.

I am asked about what the government will do in terms of getting on and delivering. Only a few weeks ago, in fact 24 days ago, the Victorian community resoundingly endorsed our government and the positive and optimistic plan that we put forward to deliver things like free kinder so that every three- and four-year-old will be able to get that precious start in life – the skills, the socialisation and the play-based learning that change lives and deliver opportunity for those smallest Victorians throughout their lives. It gives them a start – a head start – on the skills that they will need in 15 or 20 years time when they join the workforce.

Speaking about skills and the workforce, we remember a time when our vocational education and training system was absolutely smashed. We will not lower the tone by talking about those who did the smashing, but it was decimated –

Members interjecting.

Daniel ANDREWS: And they learned nothing from that episode: courses cancelled, teachers sacked, padlocks on gates, campuses closed – absolutely shameful.

Jobs start with skills, and if you gut TAFE, then you compromise the future of workers. So we will add to the free TAFE course list. We will build new TAFEs. We will make sure that every single Victorian worker can get the skills they need for the job they want. It is such a contrast: eight years ago campuses closed, with all that absolute carnage across our TAFE sector; today classrooms are full, and they are full of people who are paying nothing to get those skills.

In terms of hospitals we will invest as no other government has ever invested in projects large and small right across our state. We will recruit the additional staff as well, because it is one thing to have new hospitals, but you have got to have staff to provide the care, and do everything from making nursing degrees free all the way through to recruiting additional staff in every part of our health system, in every way, to make sure that more patients can get the care that they need as close to home as possible.

Beyond that, as my honourable friend the minister for energy and Minister for the State Electricity Commission has just indicated, we are not selling off our assets; we are instead bringing back the State Electricity Commission so that electricity in this state can be 100 per cent renewable, and what is more, it can be owned by Victorians for Victorians. Any profits that are made from our majority stake in that – the ownership that belongs to all Victorians – will be reinvested in more supply, because while it may be news to some who are warriors for the free market when it suits them, there is a pretty simple principle: things that are abundant always cost less than things that are scarce. These big greedy energy companies have told us they are leaving. We are going to replace them with something better and create jobs along the way, embed skills and put downward pressure on household bills because privatisation of our electricity has simply failed. It has simply failed. They have said they are leaving, and we wish them all the very best because we have got something much better. I could go on. There are many other elements to our positive plan. We are absolutely –

Members interjecting.

Daniel ANDREWS: No. Interjections are disorderly, Speaker, I am sure you will inform me of that. I could of course go on, but I will not be distracted by the interjections from those opposite. The important thing here is this: over the last eight years we have demonstrated to every single Victorian that we live our values. We are the most progressive government in the most progressive state in our nation, and what is more, we get on and we get things done. And that is exactly what we will do over these next four years: delivering each and every element of our positive and optimistic plan. We thank the Victorian community for their vote of confidence, we thank the Victorian community for that sense of unity and purpose, and we will not waste a day.