ADJOURNMENT - Energy Supply (5.2.2019)

Written on the 5 February 2019

Southern Metropolitan

ADJOURNMENT

Energy Supply

Tuesday 5 February, 2019

 

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)   My adjournment matter this evening is to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister D'Ambrosio.

It is summer; we are going to get hot days and heatwaves. This is nothing new. Most of us in this house would have experienced hot days and heatwaves before. On Friday, 25 January, Victoria experienced a particularly hot weather event where temperatures across the state were in the high 30s to mid-40s. Melbourne's temperature was 42 degrees. The Bureau of Meteorology had been warning Victorians of very hot temperatures for that Friday. On the Wednesday the Australian Energy Market Operator raised the possibility of a power supply shortfall both in Victoria and in South Australia. Yet you, Minister, had been repeatedly stating that Victoria would not have brownouts. Frankly, when the power goes out they are blackouts.
Minister, I am sure you will say there was a perfect storm of failuresthat the transmission lines in New South Wales let everybody down, that there is the ageing of Victoria's coal powered stations such as at Yallourn and that the power stations did not come to the party as wellbut your government's decision to shut down Hazelwood has also contributed to insufficient energy supply.

So despite the protestations that you might make, hundreds of thousands of Victorians were severely impacted and could have planned and made alternative arrangements for any blackouts that were to occur on that Friday. As I said, instead there were no warnings and the lights went out. Air conditioners and refrigerators stopped working, and businesses and, importantly, people suffered. Heat stress and dehydration kill.
Chandra Ojha, who I know well, was one Victorian who was severely impacted on that day, with his five-year-old daughter suffering from heat stress and becoming very unwell. It was a frightening experience for Mr Ojha and his wife. I am only sorry that Mr Ojha and his wife had to go through such a distressing situationa situation that could have been averted if you had been honest and given Victorians some warning that, due to insufficient supply, Victoria did not have enough energy in its system for citizens and businesses on that day and that blackouts in various areas would happen. It is a situation, as I said, that was very distressing for the Ojha family.

To add insult to injury, Mr Ojha and his family did not need the insensitive tweet from Mr Dalidakis after publication of an article in the Age. Mr Dalidakis did not help the situation with his insensitive tweet. It should not matter who Mr Ojha is. His daughter was extremely ill and his family suffered due to no warnings being in place. If there were warnings in place, alternative measures could have been made by the family.

The action I seek therefore is that you, Minister, apologise to Mr Ojha and all Victorians for not giving sufficient warnings, for the misleading information that you gave, for the huge cost to the Victorian businesses that had to shut down early as a result of the blackouts and importantly for the distress to vulnerable Victorians, both young and old.

 

The PRESIDENT: Before I call Mr Davis, I do recall a ruling around members not being able to call for a minister to apologise for something, but I only recall it. So I would say to Ms Crozier once again, if you give me licence to look at that before ruling it in or out, I will give you a response tomorrow, if you are happy with that.

Ms CROZIER: Thank you, President, for your guidance and understanding.
If I could just rephrase the action I seek from the ministerand it is similar, possibly, to what Mr Davis has just asked of another ministerI ask the minister to provide an explanation or release a public statement to Mr Ojha and all Victorians as to why warnings were not provided on this occasion.


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