Government performance (7.12.2016)
Written on the 3 February 2017
7 December 2016
GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)
I am absolutely delighted to be able to rise and speak to the motion that we are debating this morning. Can I just say that Mr Leane's contribution was an absolute joke.
Mr O'Donohue - A disgrace.
Ms CROZIER And a disgrace. He went on for 15 minutes talking about the previous government and did not even acknowledge his own government. But let me tell you, the litany of failures of this government and the divisive nature of this government just demonstrate how much regard he has for his own Premier and his colleagues, because he went on a rant.
Mr Leane interjected.
Ms CROZIER I am not going to waste my time talking about you. I want to speak to this motion and what is important to Victorians, because you said no-one was listening. You said, 'Why are we bothering with this motion?'. We are bothering with this motion because it is absolutely critical for the future of Victorians.
Let us just start with so many issues that are at hand. The scrapping of the eastwest link and the wasting of $1.2 billion what a disgrace. Money flushed down the drain what a disgrace. That is an issue that Victorians have not forgotten about, Mr Leane, and they care about it. When they get stuck in traffic, they know that you have wasted that money that could have been put into more police, more nurses and more child protection workers. You have wasted it, flushed it down the drain.
But let us look at it in our own communities right around the state, and all of us will speak to this. In my area of Southern Metropolitan Region, which Mr Davis and Ms Fitzherbert know only too well, there is disregard for local communities on so many decisions decisions such as sky rail. Sky rail a decision that was not taken to the Victorian community prior to 2014.
Mr O'Donohue What a disgrace.
Ms CROZIER Another disgrace, Mr O'Donohue. No-one voted for sky rail. They rammed it through, and this government is full-on ramming things through and dividing communities. There is no doubt about that.
The sky tower in my area of Ormond again there has been no community consultation on so many issues. We have businesses down in that area that have absolutely gone to the wall. People have lost their jobs over the decisions that your government has made, and they are going to be losing their jobs more when Hazelwood closes down in a few months time.
But there are other decisions in the Southern Metropolitan Region that I want to go to. There is the metro rail tunnel. Look at that. There has been no regard for the needs of South Yarra station patrons, which could easily be included in that plan. The government is disregarding so many of the concerns of the community in relation to the St Kilda Road boulevard, which is well renowned around the world as an iconic boulevard. What are you going to do? Your government is going to destroy it by having no regard for these matters, just because they are doing it on the cheap. They are ramming this decision through.
Business interrupted pursuant to sessional orders.
. . .
As I was saying before the interruption for questions without notice, in relation to this important motion on the Andrews Labor government's two years in office and the failure of Daniel Andrews in providing for the Victorian community, there is a litany of issues that are of concern to the wider Victorian community. Just before the interruption I was speaking about the impacts of the government's decision to build the metro rail tunnel, including the decimation of St Kilda Road boulevard and the destruction of hundreds of trees, which will occur because this government is so pig-headed and will not go deeper in its construction to prevent those trees from being ripped out or chopped down. That is going to commence very, very soon.
Only this morning Ms Fitzherbert tabled in the Parliament a petition of over 1000 signatures from members of the community expressing their concern about this decision. They want the tunnelling to go deeper so that we can prevent these trees from being chopped down or removed. It would be absolutely dreadful to have that magnificent boulevard decimated, which is what the Andrews government plans to do. I think Ms Fitzherbert said that over 1000 people have signed her petition in relation to this, and I know that there are many, many other Victorians concerned about it. I am not sure that many Victorians actually know about the government's plans, because as we know they keep them fairly secretive. As I said earlier, the community were not made aware of the sky rail or the sky tower before construction on them commenced. The government is just ramming through these decisions.
I turn to the level crossing removal program at North Road, Ormond, which was actually budgeted for and funded by the previous government, I might add. This government undertook the removal of that level crossing, but they did so in a way that did not bring the community along with them. They said they would do one thing, but then they brought their plans forward by six months. Businesses in the area that had planned for closures in the middle of the year were suddenly forced to close their businesses, and this had a massive impact on them. I have been speaking with representatives of some of these businesses, and they tell me that they nearly went to the wall. Some have gone to the wall, and there have been significant job losses. It has been said to me that the economic impact of this has been the loss of millions of dollars. As we know, the government could not care less. They rammed their decision through just so they could snip that ribbon and get that photo opportunity, rather than trying to really understand the impacts of their actions on the local community.
That is not the only decision where the government has had total disregard for the community. They are hell-bent on their ideological direction. We saw that in their Peter Mac decision. What a disgraceful decision that was; it is having massive implications for those patients that are to be treated for cancer in this state. There has been so much lost opportunity just because of the ideological bent of the Premier and his union mates.
Talking of unions, as other members have covered off on, there is the Country Fire Authority (CFA) dispute. It is absolutely unprecedented to have a government and a Premier going to war with tens of thousands of volunteers. The Premier can spin it any way he likes. He might say that he cares for volunteers and that they do a great job, but the proof is in the pudding. He constantly talks about working for all Victorians. Well, we do not see that. There are winners and losers with this guy. We have seen that with the CFA. It is the CFA versus the United Firefighters Union (UFU). The CFA volunteers are the losers, and the government's UFU mates are the winners.
We have seen it in the Premier's own ranks. He has effectively sidelined women. He talks about equality; well, he bullied out Jane Garrett, and he bullied out Lucinda Nolan. Fiona Richardson has been sidelined. She is the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, and all she has responsibility for are 7 of the 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. That has gone all over the place. Actually, I do not really know where it is going, despite the implementation of the recommendations being a priority of this government. One does not really know. They do talk a lot about it, and everybody in this state wants to see a reduction in violence, but I think the Premier is using this for political purposes, because he certainly does not always show the bipartisan approach he speaks about. Again, his rhetoric does not match his actions.
Three ministers have gone. The Premier was going to be greater on transparency and form a government with greater accountability to the Victorian public. Well, three ministers have gone: one because he was allegedly bullying someone; Jane Garrett because she was bullied out by the Premier; and then the former Minister for Corrections, who resigned following the poochgate affair. Really, the standards of this government are absolutely disgraceful. That is what Victorians have noticed, and that is what they care about.
Let us just have a look at the decision in relation to the Hazelwood power station. It is to be shut down in just a few months time. That will have an enormous impact on businesses right across the state.
Mr Barber interjected.
Ms CROZIER It is going to be enormous, because when you shut down a large facility that is responsible for power production in this state, no matter how many wind turbines you build between now and April, they will not put the same amount of power back into the grid. Mr Barber knows that. This is not about forward planning.
I am not going to waste my time debating with Mr Barber on this issue, because I want to go to a very important issue that directly relates to my portfolio, and that is law and order. As I have said a number of times in this place, under this government the crime rate is out of control; we have a spiralling crisis. We have seen home invasions and carjackings offences that we had not even heard about until a couple of months ago and that are now occurring on a regular basis and are seriously putting the community at risk. People in our community do have fears about this.
You just hear of new offences all the time. A couple of weeks ago it was kicking in doors. So they are not just home invading, they are kicking in doors.
What about those victims that are subjected to these offences, these violent crimes, where they are threatened by baseball bats, knives, machetes or guns in their faces? I have seen this throughout my own area of Southern Metropolitan Region, whether it was those poor Chinese students in Ormond who were threatened with the most hideous and heinous crimes by those young offenders or whether it was the Imp Jewellery store, that was taken over by three offenders with machetes and guns. The brazen disregard for community safety that has been happening is absolutely extraordinary. It is no wonder that the community is fearing for its safety; it is absolutely no wonder at all.
Of course we have the weakened bail laws that this government has undertaken in the area of youth justice. The coalition bail laws that were imposed under the former government gave a penalty for those aged under 18 who had breached their bail. This government has repealed those laws, and since 2 May this year children cannot be charged with breaches of bail. So they have weakened the bail laws. There is no regard for the consequences of their actions, as I have said to the house on a number of occasions.
We have seen that in the youth justice crisis that is gripping the state. For months and months and months there has been riot after riot, and all the minister can do is have a review. She keeps talking about reviews, but clearly her strategy is not working, because the consequences of the actions of these kids are still ongoing, with millions of dollars worth of damage that the taxpayer has to foot. There is no accountability or responsibility taken by this minister. It is absolutely disgraceful and shameful that she gets away with it. She comes in here with the most arrogant manner and refuses to disclose what is actually happening. In fact I do not think she actually knows what is going on, which is evident from her answers in question time and the answers she continually supplies for questions on notice and the written answers that have to be given following her inability to give answers in question time.
This crisis that we have includes overcrowding in Malmsbury in some of the units that do not even have their facilities catered for. We have this debacle of a situation where young offenders were sent to Barwon Prison. Some were let out. So some have been exempt from the government's own rulings and their big, tough talk about 'I make no apology for sending these young offenders to Barwon Prison'. Well, they have excluded some; they have made special exemptions for some. How does that look for those other offenders that are in there? Of course that set a precedent and of course there are going to be challenges. Now we have the government in court. Well, they are in court on a number of issues. It is not only youth justice but it is the rorting, it is the Country Fire Authority and goodness knows what else that they are in court for. They spend more time in court than in the community, it seems to me. They are an absolute mess. The list goes on.
That is why I think that the government and the Premier, Daniel Andrews, have got more trouble internally, worrying about the internal factional warfare that is going on. The Premier is actually not thinking about Victoria's future in relation to the community's concerns and needs. When we have 100 000 people or thereabouts coming to Victoria each year, he has no answers. He is just going to jam them into local areas. He is going to disregard any planning laws that might be applicable and just allow development to be put in inappropriate places. This is not good for Melbourne. It is certainly not good for Victoria. It will essentially drive away investment and economic returns in the medium to long term, because he is just focused on short-term political gains.
We saw that in the lead-up to the 2014 election, with the disgraceful behaviour by the unions that helped him get into government by just a handful of votes. I really think that was just an appalling abuse of public property when slogans were written on ambulances. The government talks about Wicked Campers and banning those messages. I am all for that if that is what they do, but the way they abused public property and put absolutely disgraceful messages on those ambulances through the election campaign just demonstrated that they are more in bed with the unions than considering the long-term benefits for Victorians as a whole.
We are two years into this government, and some would say it is the worst government this state has ever seen. It is the worst government because of the decisions it has made in relation to the wasteful spending of money. If they did not have the port sale and if they did not have those billions of dollars coming in because of the port sale, goodness knows where this state would be. It would be really looking down the barrel. But they are very fortunate because they have had that windfall. It is not because of good management by the government; it is absolutely in contrast to that. I think we are going to see more issues in the next two years, and the community will be rightly questioning Daniel Andrews and his team.
Sitting suspended 1.03 p.m. until 2.08 p.m.
Debate adjourned on motion of Mr ONDARCHIE (Northern Metropolitan).
Debate adjourned until later this day.