Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Questions without notice

State Electricity Commission


State Electricity Commission

Kat THEOPHANOUS (Northcote) (16:23): My question is for the Minister for the State Electricity Commission. Minister, when Victoria’s energy systems were sold off to private multinationals, bills went up and many Victorian workers were sacked. Could the minister please indicate what kind of benefits Victorians, including constituents in my electorate of Northcote, can expect to see from the government bringing back the SEC?

Lily D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park – Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Energy and Resources, Minister for the State Electricity Commission) (16:23): I thank the member for Northcote for her question. And just like the SEC, isn’t it great to see the member for Northcote back? Isn’t it great? It is fantastic – just like the SEC. And it is coming back for a very, very good reason. One hundred per cent renewable electricity will be produced by the SEC – 100 per cent publicly owned renewable energy for Victorians, not for profits. I know that the member for Northcote would agree –

Members interjecting.

Lily D’AMBROSIO: Maybe if you listen, you can learn something. I mean, it has only been eight years. Perhaps if you did listen, you might actually learn a few lessons from your failed privatisation agenda that Victorians absolutely rejected last month. Do you know why? Because when our assets were sold off, the only ones who benefited were those corporations that have now reaped $23 billion. Bills skyrocketed, tens of thousands of people lost their jobs and record numbers of people were disconnected from their power systems. No longer are we going to be tolerating that with the SEC.

Let me tell you about what the SEC will do. It will deliver 4500 megawatts of new-build renewable energy, the equivalent of replacing Loy Yang A. It will drive us towards meeting our 95 per cent renewable energy target by 2035, of course including our nation-leading offshore wind energy target, driving the creation of 59,000 jobs, including 6000 apprenticeships and traineeships for Victorians. It will help drive down energy bills and reduce our emissions by between 75 and 80 per cent by 2035. We will establish the SEC Centre of Training Excellence to coordinate and accredit courses in clean energy. We are working with TAFEs, industry and unions and adding clean energy to our VCE vocational major, meaning kids in Northcote can be part of our renewable energy future while still in secondary school.

This recent election was a referendum on energy privatisation. We all know how that ended. They rejected energy privatisation. Victorians rejected the disastrous policies of those opposite, who still say that privatisation was ‘good for consumers’ and ‘Victoria did very well out of it’. I do not think there are many people in Victoria who would actually agree with this today – $23 billion of profits out, overseas and away from Victorians. Prices skyrocketed, thousands of people lost their jobs and record numbers of Victorians were being disconnected.

We will have an initial $1 billion of investment in the SEC, ensuring that all profits are directed back to creating more renewable energy projects and more jobs for our people. And we will protect the SEC for our kids well into the future by enshrining it in the Victorian constitution next year, because if we know anything about the Liberals it is that they will do anything to privatise our essential assets, including of course energy and water. That is what their plan was – to privatise water. We do not lead an energy policy that is about driving bills up for consumers. The SEC will be back. It will be better than ever. It will be bigger than ever. It will be about clean energy, creating thousands of jobs – 59,000 jobs – and our young people, who are our absolute future here, will actually be in the driver’s seat, getting those benefits of the skills, the training and the good jobs, knowing all the while that it is a Labor government that has delivered a sure future for them with good paid jobs, publicly owned renewable electricity, reduced emissions and reduced bills – all of that only from a Labor government.

The SPEAKER: The member for –