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Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Page: 8807

Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (09:50): I was moved yesterday when, during a delegation to my office, a woman said—and this is why I am a bit testy today when I hear statements coming from members of the government who took $4.2 billion in GST off the state government and then complained about how they spent the money—'How disadvantaged do you want our community to get before we act? How disadvantaged do you want the Latrobe Valley to be, getting hit by this carbon tax and a low-emissions future, before you are prepared to act?'

The people in the delegation included Paul Buckley, CEO of the Latrobe City Council; Julia Agostino, manager of regional partnerships for Latrobe council; Mark Sandeman from Monash Gippsland; Ross Bertoli from Hydro manufacturing; Owen Trumper from HVP; and Mayor Ed Vermeulen. They came in with these reports that I have here: the Gippsland Centre for Sustainable Industries one; the Moe Rail Precinct one; the Moe Activity Centre Plan; the developmental brief for the impact assessment plan on the carbon tax; and the full bit for the Moe Rail Precinct, with all the promises, the outline and the plan.

We have had visits from Simon Crean. I have great respect for Simon Crean and his concern for the Latrobe Valley. We have had Greg Combet. We have had every minister of import in regard to this carbon tax in the Latrobe Valley, but now is the time to act. These people lost 8,000, 10,000 or 12,000 jobs and more allied jobs when the Latrobe Valley was hit by the electricity restructure. Now they are the centre of national attention in regard to the carbon tax. And what do they say to me? They say: 'Damn the carbon tax. We've just got ourselves back on our feet and we are rebuilding our community and we are the ones that are hit straightaway. If you take 12,000 megawatts of power out of the Latrobe Valley, which Victoria depends on, you take away 12,000 jobs.'

I know I am speaking for the local community when I say they have been directly affected. It is having an impact already on confidence, confidence being the great builder of communities. This government should be shrinking back and should be crawling away, but no. Now it is time to get on the front foot. Now is the time to act. Latrobe city is calling out to the ministers who have been down there, saying: 'Right. We've had the reports. We've had the visits. We've had the concerns. We've had the statements about the importance of agriculture and have then been left out of the food plan. Now we've had the consultation down here and it is time for this government to act on the reports and the initiatives that it has put in place.'