SPEAKING ON A BILL | ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING COMMITTEE

Mr Melhem (Western Metropolitan): I also rise to speak against this motion. I will be very brief. It is mainly for a couple of reasons. As the chair of the Environment and Planning Committee I note that the reference has a timetable of 13 November to report back to the house. Let me tell you up-front that the committee will not be able to meet that deadline, so the house should not be surprised or shocked that we will not be able to deal with that. The mover of the motion perhaps should have actually consulted with the committee. We have got a major inquiry with 10 days of hearings scheduled between now and October, with a final report to be handed down by 29 November, as requested by the house, so for the life of me I cannot see how we are going to meet the deadline. Notwithstanding that, the referral is just a waste of time. It is another stunt by the opposition, wasting time referring things for inquiry knowing that these inquiries are not going to get off the ground on time. It is quite interesting that there are 11 members of the opposition and 11 crossbenchers, and I have been listening for the last few months, and in those months I have heard more sensible stuff from the crossbenchers on genuine issues. We may not agree on everything, but at least they are prepared to provide some constructive contributions to debate in this house. The only thing I have heard from the so-called opposition is just opposition for opposition’s sake. They are not coming up with any real alternative policy, apart from basically dragging themselves down low into the gutter and wasting the time of this house. I think the solar energy program implemented by Minister D’Ambrosio is working really well, helping Victorians to reduce their power bills and helping to improve renewable energy targets, which will be 50 per cent come 2030. It will make this state one of the leaders in renewable energy in the country. It is a record that we are on track to achieve, and we should be proud of that. So the opposition is just criticising our program for the sake of criticising it, without coming up with any alternative about how the system could work better. They cannot make up their minds whether they are in support of the subsidy or they are against the subsidy. I am not sure which way they stand. They say, ‘We like the subsidy but we don’t like the model’. What is the model they like? We do not know that either. They are just opposing for the sake of opposing. That is why they are in opposition and that is why they are not in government. With those words I hope the house will reject the reference.

The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Bourman): The time having expired, we have two questions before the house. Dr Ratnam’s amendment agreed to. House divided on amended motion:

Ayes, 19
Atkinson, Mr Grimley, Mr O’Donohue, Mr
Barton, Mr Hayes, Mr Ondarchie, Mr
Bath, Ms Limbrick, Mr Quilty, Mr
Bourman, Mr Lovell, Ms Ratnam, Dr (Teller)
Crozier, Ms Maxwell, Ms Rich-Phillips, Mr
Davis, Mr McArthur, Mrs (Teller) Wooldridge, Ms
Finn, Mr    
Noes, 19
Cumming, Dr Meddick, Mr Somyurek, Mr
Elasmar, Mr Melhem, Mr Stitt, Ms
Garrett, Ms (Teller) Mikakos, Ms Symes, Ms
Gepp, Mr (Teller) Patten, Ms Taylor, Ms
Jennings, Mr Pulford, Ms Terpstra, Ms
Kieu, Dr Shing, Ms Vaghela, Ms
Leane, Mr    

Amended motion negatived.