RAIL SAFETY NATIONAL LAW APPLICATION BILL 2013 and TRANSPORT LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (RAIL SAFETY LOCAL OPERATIONS AND OTHER MATTERS) BILL 2013
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- The purpose of this set of bills is for Victoria to adopt South Australia's piece of model legislation so that we can have a national rail safety law, after which that regulatory responsibility will be passed back to our own state-based transport safety regulator and we will back where we started from. However, I agree that it is good to have a national rail safety legal framework because increasingly we have interstate rail operations for the purpose of both passenger and freight movements. Certainly in Victoria they are mixed in with state-based operations. Perhaps we will soon have progress towards a high-speed rail up and down the east coast of Australia. We are the only continent, apart from Antarctica, to not have one. I am hoping I get to ride on one in Australia before the penguins are riding on one around Antarctica! Having said that, we support the framework that is here.
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- This government is about to find out how fast you can lose votes when you proudly display your anti-environment colours. It has cut back solar support, made it nearly impossible to propose a new wind farm and set up tenders to sell as much coal as it possibly can. After banning protestors and the media from duck shooting opening day, an illegal massacre of endangered species ensued. On threatened species, the newly updated list shows more than 50 species moving up the list to a more endangered status. The government wants to bulldoze more trees when it should be planting them, and later today it will bring a bill into the Parliament to entrench woodchipping of native forests when nearly everyone in Victoria wants it to end.
That this house requires the Leader of the Government to table in the Legislative Council on Tuesday, 16 April 2013, a copy of:
(1) all documents relating to the 'Route alignments peer reviewed and short-listed' and 'Communications and engagement strategy finalised' referred to on page 3 of 'East-west link reform and investment framework -- stages 1 to 6', August 2012', which formed part of the east-west link submission to Infrastructure Australia;
(2) the agenda, minutes, any attachments to the minutes and any presentations or materials tabled in relation to each meeting of the Department of Transport's east-west steering committee to date;
(3) all documents (including invitees list, agenda, minutes where they exist and the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation used) relating to a briefing, held on 17 July 2012 at the Treasury building, on the development of a business case for the east-west link; and
(4) all minutes and other documentation of meetings held with over 40 entities by the Minister for Roads and/or Department of Transport representatives relating to the proposed east-west tunnel infrastructure project, which are referenced in the media release 'East-west link is declared under major transport projects act'.
Following the historic vote for marriage equality in the New Zealand parliament this week, Greens MLC Sue Pennicuik said that it's now clearly way past the time for the Australian parliament to do the same - preferably before the federal election.
"It is just fantastic that marriage equality has been achieved in New Zealand," Ms Pennicuik said. Australia has now fallen behind many countries and our Westminster counterparts Canada, New Zealand and probably the UK too if we don't get a move on.
"Marriage Equality is simply about equality before the law and the elimination of discrimination," Ms Pennicuik said.
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- After that hullabaloo I think we better just go back and review what it is that we are debating.
We are noting the Minister for Planning's answer to a Dorothy Dixer -- which under the previous Premier would have been eliminated; but that is another promise that fell by the wayside, possibly the first broken promise of the Baillieu government -- from Mr O'Donohue to Mr Guy in relation to Baw Baw planning scheme amendment C96. The purpose of that amendment is to rezone a piece of land about 1.6 kilometres outside Warragul's town centre for a bulky goods retailer which the Minister for Planning says will support 400 jobs. But for that to come to pass the people of Warragul need to have some money in their pockets in order to purchase the types of bulky goods that are to be sold there. Mr Viney in his contribution went reasonably wide in talking about the various economic, service and infrastructure needs of West Gippsland and in the process opened up a broader debate that is worth having, particularly in relation to Warragul.
You could get yourself a reasonably cheap house-land package in and around Warragul and in that vicinity. That is no doubt the reason why many people move there while continuing in many cases to commute back to the big city -- for some it is Dandenong and for others it is all the way through to Melbourne itself.
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- This bill is entitled the Planning and Environment Amendment (Growth Areas Authority and Miscellaneous) Bill 2013, and whenever you see 'miscellaneous' you know you have to go looking, although in the last sitting week it was the 'other matters' section of a bill that seemed to take up most of our time.
We should thank the Moyne Shire Council for working out what the 'miscellaneous' was all about. While ministers have all the powers in planning schemes, what you can rely on is that your local council will take responsibility for the outcomes, because local government is the level of government closest to the people. I hope Mr O'Brien gets a bit closer to his local councils, because if he were to spend some time talking to the Moyne Shire Council, the Pyrenees Shire Council and a range of other councils in that area about the particular representations they have made, he would learn that. He would also learn that local councils are on a pretty short feedback loop from their communities. People in local government carry mobile phones and take calls at all hours of the day and night; there really is nowhere to hide. At least state MPs come up to Melbourne from time to time and conduct business in this chamber without either full awareness or full admission of the impact votes may have on those people to whom they have to deliver.
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- I am not convinced by any of the contributions I have heard so far as to what it is we are actually being asked to vote for here. If this is a portent of how the government is going to set about doing commercial development in national parks, I think we should stop right here and have another think, because that is what this is. While there has been some recent discussion about commercial development in national parks, this is a development in a national park with the relevant piece of land a commercial body is interested in being excised from a national park for its purposes.
It is the same difference as far as I am concerned, and for that reason we will not be supporting the bill.
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- In contributing to the debate on this condolence motion the Greens send our condolences to Mr Skeggs's family and loved ones.
Mr Skeggs was one of the first politicians I ever met. As a very young and impressionable university student at the Bundoora campus of La Trobe University, I was actively involved with a number of environmental issues in his electorate. I was an avid 3XY listener, so I already knew the name Bruce Skeggs. As one of the first politicians I ever met, I might have formed the view that all politicians were like him. But it is clear that he made an impression on everybody he met.
Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- Last night the Melbourne City Council backed away from a contentious takeover plan for Fishermans Bend proposed by the Lord Mayor, Cr Doyle. It had been reported previously in the press that although the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, had voiced his support for this move, the Premier, Denis Napthine, had labelled Cr Doyle's comments 'premature'. Instead the council has called on the Premier and the planning minister to return planning control for the area to a local authority. That local authority should be the City of Port Phillip.
Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- My question is for the Minister for Higher Education and Skills in his capacity as the representative in this chamber of the Minister for Education under standing order 8.01. On 12 October last year I asked him a question about a memo sent to schools by the department regarding supervision of students who do not attend special religious instruction (SRI).