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Question without Notice: A ban on new offshore coal, oil and gas mining and drilling

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
9 March 2022

Dr RATNAM (Northern Metropolitan): My question today is to the Minister for Resources. Evidence of the escalating climate crisis is here right now, being faced by flooded communities throughout Queensland and New South Wales. The single biggest issue—

Members interjecting.

The PRESIDENT: Order! I cannot hear a word. Dr Ratnam, from the beginning, please.

Dr RATNAM: Thank you, President. My question today is to the Minister for Resources. Evidence of the escalating climate crisis is here right now, being faced by flooded communities throughout Queensland and New South Wales. The single biggest cause of climate change is burning coal, oil and gas. Two weeks ago the New South Wales government announced a ban on all new coal, oil and gas mining and drilling offshore off their coast. This was good news for the climate, the oceans, marine life and the coastline of New South Wales. Will the Labor government in Victoria follow the lead of New South Wales and introduce a similar ban?

Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Resources): Thank you, Dr Ratnam, for your question and your important observations about the real-life, realtime impacts of climate change that are adversely affecting people in parts of Australia to the north of us but also, as we all know, people in communities right around the world, including of course our
own—perhaps in the most stark terms, in those fires of January 2020. Our government are very proud of the work that we are doing to achieve net zero emissions transmission, and we are doing that in a whole lot of different ways. I know your question is to me as the Minister for Resources, but context is very much relevant to the work that is being led by my colleague Minister D’Ambrosio. There is, as you know, a significant reduction in gas production and use that is forecast. The government is continuing its work on a gas substitution road map.

We have people in the gallery for the first time in two years. Hi! Sorry, I am not allowed to do that and you are not allowed to wave, but that was a nice surprise. I just looked up for a sec.

Ms Shing: They are all interested in climate change.

Ms PULFORD: They are all interested in climate change because everyone is interested in climate change, including even the Liberal Party in Victoria—unbelievable, late-breaking news! Welcome to the party. Welcome to what is a concerted effort by people around the world to decarbonise our economy and to first ameliorate and then ultimately reverse the impacts of climate change that are so significant. So good on you.

Back to Dr Ratnam’s really important question, I have no announcements to make in respect of us following or responding to the New South Wales government’s announcement. We are making our own way and very determinedly pursuing renewable energy development and supporting communities, particularly those in the Latrobe Valley, that are impacted by transition, with an enormous amount of work underway there, and of course more to go, working with industry on
rehabilitation. But of course we are also cognisant of the fact that gas in particular, which I think is probably where Dr Ratnam will go with her supplementary question, is still an essential form of energy, both for heating and for cooking, for around 2 million Victorian households as well as of  course a whole lot of industry. So we will continue to work— (Time expired)

Dr RATNAM: Thank you, Minister, for your response. While the investments in renewable energy, as you have cited, are welcome, you do not have a plan to take action on climate change. You do not have a plan to transition immediately from our dependence on  fossil fuels—coal, oil and gas—and it is so important that we have a plan to transition. As minister
you would be aware the Greens are concerned about plans by Beach Energy to begin production of new gas from the Enterprise well off the coast of Port Campbell. The Labor government has just received an application from Beach Energy to build a new gas pipeline to connect this well. Just last week the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that right now is the time to stop new fossil fuel projects and concluded that the window of opportunity to take the required action was rapidly closing. So why is this government ignoring the scientific evidence of climate change and still
considering applications for new fossil fuel assets like this pipeline?

Ms PULFORD: There are a couple of things; there was a lot there. We are not ignoring the science on climate change,
and I absolutely reject that suggestion. We are aggressively pursuing energy transition and working with communities and industry to do that. We are incredibly proud of our record on renewable energy, but we are not going to leave people in a situation, while that is being developed and while that is being developed rapidly, where they cannot cook their dinner and they cannot keep on the lights. We will pursue the path that we are on, which we have been on since day one of this government, and that  is delivering all manner of benefits to people across the Victorian community. The Greens have a view about this that disregards the realities that a whole lot of households and industries need to take into
account. We are absolutely guided by— (Time expired)

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
9 March 2022


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