Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (13:41): My friend the member for Gippsland and transport minister, Darren Chester, has a great saying, and it is so true. He says, ‘For all their platitudes, their chest puffing and their moralising, the Greens have never created one job in the Latrobe Valley.’ The Greens are waging a war against jobs in the Latrobe Valley, in the areas that we represent: Gippsland and McMillan. The Greens like to take a train trip down from Melbourne on the Gippsland line every now and then to pontificate to the people who live in the Latrobe Valley about how they want to shut down the Latrobe Valley energy sector. They then overreach a little further by following it up with a glib dash of false hope about the hundreds of green jobs they are going to create. After that, they jump on the train and go back to Melbourne.
There will, over time, be a transition in the Latrobe Valley stationary energy sector. We know that. It is mainly because of ageing infrastructure and a fall in demand in the national electricity market. But, for at least the next 30 to 50 years, coal will remain a major source of electricity generation. That is because it is cheap, it is reliable and it is available in abundance. A power station employs thousands of people, both directly and indirectly. We all agree that moving to a low-emission future is necessary. We are doing that as a government right now. The Australian government is investing strongly in programs that help achieve this in an economically and environmentally responsible manner. Innovation and research are integral to this. Walking away from thousands of jobs in the Latrobe Valley, one of the largest and cleanest sources of brown coal in the world, is not the way to go. (Time expired)