Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Questions without notice

State Electricity Commission


State Electricity Commission

Daniela DE MARTINO (Monbulk) (15:02): My question is to the Minister for Employment. Minister, almost everyone in here has heard a story about the lifelong jobs the SEC used to provide. How will bringing back the SEC create thousands of jobs for Victorians and grow our renewables workforce?

Ben Carroll interjected.

The SPEAKER: Order! Wait until you are called, Minister. Everyone is out of practice, I can see.

Ben CARROLL (Niddrie – Minister for Industry and Innovation, Minister for Manufacturing Sovereignty, Minister for Employment, Minister for Public Transport) (15:03): Thank you for the call, Speaker. I want to thank the member for Monbulk for her question because it is such a great question, and it goes also to what the Minister for the State Electricity Commission was talking about – lifelong jobs at the SEC. I know the evening is getting on, but I do want to also highlight – and I have brought it in – that my father worked at the SEC. I have even got his job application right in front of me, believe it or not. It paid $27,000 a year in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It says:

Electricians …

Looking for a Change?

Do you want a job with security, promotion prospects, superannuation and good working conditions?

My dad successfully got that job. Sadly, years later he lost that job when it was privatised by the Kennett government.

John Pesutto interjected.

Ben CARROLL: I will take that up, because we have got a new opposition leader that walks both sides of the street. He loves to talk about his dad and that, but he loves to be a Liberal first and a Victorian second – pro privatisation.

Members interjecting.

The SPEAKER: Order! Members will direct their comments through the Chair.

James Newbury: On a point of order, I beg you, Speaker, to please bring the minister back to the question, to stop debating extraneous matters. I mean, this is just getting long, and I do not know when it is going to end.

Members interjecting.

The SPEAKER: Order! The minister will continue.

Ben CARROLL: I have got four years –

The SPEAKER: Order! I ask the minister to come back to the question.

Ben CARROLL: I have got four years of talking about jobs, jobs and jobs – 59,000 jobs in areas like manufacturing, solar, wind and emerging industries. Six thousand of those jobs will go to trainees and apprentices – 6000 lifelong jobs creating the SEC. But we are also going to bring the Victorian community with us on this important journey. Later this year we will be holding a renewable energy skills and workforce forum. We will bring together employers, unions, training providers, peak bodies and traditional owners. We will ensure we have the skills and the match readiness to create a workforce pipeline for the SEC. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues the Minister for Training and Skills in the other place and the minister for the SEC.

There are alternatives out there, and I have brought another article in with me. It is here, the Australian Financial Review, 15 January, headed: ‘Pesutto may tear downSEC to rebuild Liberals …’.

Members interjecting.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Manager of Opposition Business is warned.

James Newbury: On a point of order, Speaker, clearly the minister is now debating the question, and we are going for the record of the longest question time, I think ever. This minister is at 5 minutes, and I would ask you to bring the minister back to the question.

Members interjecting.

The SPEAKER: Order! I am happy to sit here for question time to go a little longer. The minister will continue, but I ask him to cease debating the question.

Ben CARROLL: You cannot make this up. It was sewerage at the state election, and now they are already lining up the SEC in the second question time after the election. But let me finish the quote so it is on the Hansard record, which we can replay for the next four years. The article states:

… Mr Pesutto argues the state government does not need to intervene in the building of renewables infrastructure because there is enough private capital to do the job.

The Liberals first and Victorians second.