Let solar citizens have their share

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Energy and Resources, Mr Northe. May 2014 was the hottest May since records have been kept. It was also the 351st consecutive month of above-average temperatures when measured on a global level. If I flipped a coin 351 times and got 351 heads, I would know there was something wrong with that coin. It is pretty clear to anybody -- it should certainly be clear to the minister -- that global warming is happening, and it is happening because of human activity. In the meantime the development of the solar energy industry in Victoria, which certain members of the government purport to have some fondness for, is being held back by the annoying and pernicious red tape that is put in the way of ordinary citizens and in some cases businesses putting solar panels on their roofs. 

Fines, Bills and vulnerable victims

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- The Greens certainly concur with the last few remarks made by the spokesperson from the opposition. It is for those reasons -- the wide-ranging nature of the bill, its complexity, the sensitivity of the reforms and their impact on some of our most vulnerable groups -- that the Greens believe the Fines Reform Bill 2014 could do with some further scrutiny. Apparently it zipped through the lower house with very little scrutiny, but our suggestion is that a bill of this nature, which, as Ms Mikakos pointed out, is not due to enter into force until next year anyway, could be scrutinised by the Legal and Social Issues Legislation Committee. We have a referral motion to that effect. 

Dollar Bet safety standards on Pokies - Greens Bill introduced

Colleen Hartland Speech in Parliament
The Greens are committed to limiting the harm of gambling through evidence-based solutions.
Problem gambling is taking an enormous toll on Victorian families and our health system.
The financial stress causes family breakdown, drives people to crime, and can result in job loss. Depression and suicide are some of the worst impacts.
Many people enjoy a punt, but that is all it should be— a game, a bit of entertainment.
When people can lose thousands of dollars an hour on pokies, something needs to be done to limit the losses and the harm pokies can cause.
Up to 80 per cent of problem gambling is caused by poker machines, which are designed by the gambling industry to be highly addictive and to maximise losses.

Melbourne Market Bill paves smooth path for East West toll road

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- I am at a loss as to why it was that the decision was taken to move wholesale fruit and vegetable marketing from its central position at the port, with access to good infrastructure, to potential future rail freight development and of course to the increasingly important aspect of fresh fruit and vegetable and other rural commodity exports. It is now to be exiled to a location on an outer ring-road where in future we know, amongst other problems, the market will be totally dependent on road freight for its logistics. However, the bill before us is not intended to unscramble that omelette. That decision was taken by the Labor Party long ago, and this simply cleans up a number of aspects of that transition. 

Yes, even Palmer gets it

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- If even Clive Palmer gets it, you have to wonder what is wrong with the Victorian Liberal Party. At a joint press conference with former US Vice-President Al Gore, Mr Palmer noted that $415 billion of investment and 18 400 jobs were at risk if the renewable energy target were to be scrapped -- a subject which received some debate here in the Parliament yesterday. Hopefully the Liberal Party can now get over it and learn to live with the renewable energy target. 

Coalition votes against clean energy future for Victoria

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- Consistency: let us have more of it. It is true that voters, even though they might not subscribe to every one of a particular party's policies, nevertheless recognise consistency when they see it. Government members themselves are quite consistent, in a way. They are consistent in substituting known industry information with Institute of Public Affairs talking points. 
They are consistent in relying on the minister's cheat sheet, which is now a couple of weeks out of date, even though the federal government's own modelling now contradicts the material that is in it. They are consistent in making overblown claims about the cost of wind farm construction on roads.

Support renewables for a stronger Victorian economy

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- I am happy to support the opposition's motion because I would be very pleased to have an inquiry of this type where the sectors, industries and individual firms whose names have just been taken in vain by various speakers could appear before a parliamentary committee and give us their view on the state of play within the steel industry right now. It would be very interesting to hear which of the bits of the contributions that have just been made they would agree with and which other issues they might believe have been left out and should be brought into the debate.

Duck shooting days are over

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- The 2014 duck shooting season ended on 9 June with cruelty and carnage -- as per usual -- but most notably with a low number of duck shooters. Despite last year's box flat massacre, when over 2000 native birds were shot, including some 200 protected and threatened freckled ducks, we discovered that these waterbirds are still being slaughtered. In the first week of this year's shooting season, rescuers recovered approximately 300 dead or wounded birds which had been shot and illegally left by shooters on just two wetlands, and this included 100 threatened freckled ducks. 

Fair wages for community health workers

Colleen Hartland calls on the Governmen to fund the community health enterprise agreement.  
My question is for the Minister for Health. The community health enterprise agreement for community health physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, podiatrists and exercise physiologists expired in 2011. These workers are represented by the Victorian Health Professionals Association (VHPA) and have been without an enterprise bargaining agreement and wage rise for three years.

Support for increases in government transparency

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- I find this to be an interesting bill, because it codifies the current convention for dealing with cabinet documents. It slightly decreases the time lines for public viewing of most documents and increases fines for inappropriate actions. 
However, in the process it seems to remove the minister's discretion to release cabinet documents at an earlier stage. 
Public Record Office Victoria is the archives of the state government, managed for the benefit of the government and the public. It was established in 1973 under its own act, but its records go back as far as the 1830s, before the establishment of the Colony of Victoria. The records are of bodies or processes managed or regulated by government, including the administration of justice, immigration, health and welfare, land, education, and so forth. There are records there from courts, local councils, schools, public hospitals and other public offices. At the office's reading rooms -- and there are a number of them around the state -- about 150 records are issued for viewing each day and it makes available some very good online publications

East West Tollroad - all roads lead to congestion

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- I think, and I am sure many other Victorians think, that the east-west toll road is the stupidest project in Victoria's history. I am yet to hear anybody explain, in debate today or at any other time, how connecting three congested freeways to each other cures congestion. There is not a single fact that has been put forward today that has suggested this will do anything other than increase the amount of traffic pouring on and off toll road ramps into the inner city; but if you tease out some of the propositions put forward by the government in its introduction, you find those answers. These sorts of things will not be in the cheat sheets that have been handed out to government members, but the fact is that the government's so-called freight plan is a plan to massively increase truck traffic and will see rail's share of the freight task decline over time. 

Vexatious Proceedings Bill 2014


Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- According to the explanatory memorandum, the Vexatious Proceedings Bill 2014 introduces a new regime for the management and prevention of vexatious litigation in Victorian courts and tribunals, and aims to improve the effectiveness of the justice system by ensuring that unmeritorious litigation is disposed of at an early stage and that persons are prevented from wasting court time with further unmeritorious cases.

Witness Protection Amendement Bill 2014


Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- George Brouwer, when he was Director of Police Integrity, noted in his review of the Victoria Police witness protection program published in July 2005 -- almost 9 years ago -- that:

Upholding the criminal law and maintaining civil order depend to a very large extent on the preparedness of witnesses to give evidence in court: if there is no witness, there can generally be no prosecution ... It is a duty of the justice system to protect witnesses; only rarely may they need protection against the ultimate violence of murder, but any intimidated witness, too frightened to speak out fully and truthfully, undermines the cause of justice.

Member's Statement: Karin Geradts


Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- Karin Geradts was a very special person who deeply touched the lives of those around her. Karin was a loving mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, aunty, cousin, teacher, mentor and dear friend to so many people. Karin was a primary school teacher, and the dozens of tributes to her from her current and former students are a testament to her inspiring, passionate and caring style of teaching. She was also a teacher to all who knew her -- teaching by example and with love how to be more honest, generous and brave, as she was.

How will proposed Stawell Bill Hill open cut mine be rehabilitated?

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- In the absence of the Minister for Health, the Greens question today goes to the Minister for Planning, Mr Guy. The minister has before him an environment effects statement (EES) for the Big Hill open-cut mine at Stawell. Submissions have closed. Many of the submissions go not just to the issues of health and amenity but also to the rehabilitation of this hill that is to be carved off right in the middle of town and -- we hope -- replaced. At the same time I note the government has under way a tender for the development of a rehabilitation bond model for mining and extractive industry sites in Victoria, no doubt getting ahead of the Hazelwood inquiry. Can the minister assure us that no final decision will be made on the Big Hill open-cut mine until the government has worked out what its model is for site rehabilitation? 

Embrace renewables, for the climate and economy

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- I move: 
That this house -- 
(1) notes the submission by the state of Victoria to the review of the commonwealth renewable energy target, currently under way; 
(2) rejects the recommendations of the state's submission; and 
(3) calls on the state government to support the renewable energy target in its current form and to develop a renewable energy plan for Victoria. 

A metre matters - cycling safety given more certainty

Introduction and first reading
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) introduced a bill for an act to amend the Road Safety Road Rules 2009 in relation to the overtaking of bicycles and for other purposes.
Read first time; by leave, ordered to be read second time forthwith.
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) tabled the following statement in accordance with Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006:
In accordance with section 28 of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (the charter), I make this statement of compatibility with respect to the Road Safety Road Rules 2009 (Overtaking Bicycles) Bill 2014.

Residential amenity bugbears

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- My question is to the Minister for Planning. As we both know, the minister has received some requests for meetings from Dockland residents who find themselves living in an apartment building where apartments have been sublet as serviced apartments and are often occupied by people who come to Melbourne to party on and go crazy, with the resultant amenity problems. The minister has left it to his department to respond in a kind of bureaucratic way, referring these people back to a court case interpreting the meaning of 'residential apartment' that is winding its way up and down through the court system. The minister has also referred them to the unacceptable behaviour provisions within the body corporate act. The letter says that they may like to meet with the department to discuss the options. What are the minister's options for fixing this problem, and when do we expect to see the issue resolved? 

Youth unemployment a very real, noticeable and tangible human problem

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- Youth unemployment is an extremely serious issue because when we talk about young people we are not just talking about another group; we are talking about the future. What young people experience around the time they are thinking of leaving school or thinking of going into study or thinking of trying to enter the workforce is an important step that we do not want to turn into a misstep. 
What I cannot understand about the Liberal Party is what it sees as the other side of mutual obligation. We hear a lot about the obligation on young people to fill in a dole diary or survive on their own money until they have no money left, or hang around for six months hoping that something is going to happen in their town before they are cut off and are forced to move who knows where exactly. Some members of the Liberal Party are telling them to move to Tasmania, others are telling them to move from Tasmania.

Climate change - get with the global program

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- For a brief moment Australia was a world leader in action on climate change. However, you need only rest on your laurels for a few moments for the rest of the world to race ahead of you. President Obama has articulated very well the need for carbon pricing. On 7 June the New York Times quoted Obama as saying: 
   ... we said: 'We're going to charge you if you're releasing this stuff into the atmosphere, but we're going to let you figure out -- with the marketplace and with the technology' how best to mitigate it. But 'you can't keep dumping it out in the atmosphere and making everybody else pay for it. So if there's one thing I would like to see, it'd be for us to be able to price the cost of carbon emissions.