February 16, 2012
Mr CHESTER (Gippsland) (13:57): The Minister for Resources and Energy was in the Latrobe Valley last Friday. The House will be surprised to learn that he did not mention big polluters or dirty brown-coal-fired power stations once in his speech. Instead, he talked about the potential for future investment in brown-coal-sourced products in the Latrobe Valley, but there was not one word about big polluters and how the carbon tax is going to save the planet. He even put out a press release saying, ‘The last thing we want to do is cut jobs.’ The Prime Minister was also quoted last week saying she wants to run the economy ‘in the interest of working people’.
Government members: Hear, hear!
Mr CHESTER: I hear members opposite saying ‘Hear! Hear! This will come as a huge surprise to the power station workers in my electorate because the Prime Minister and every member of this government wants to kick them out of their jobs. Hundreds of power station workers in the Latrobe Valley will lose their jobs under the contract for closure scheme. Those jobs are in the hands of the Australian Labor Party. Those jobs and the futures of those families in the Latrobe Valley are in your hands.
The workers whom I speak to do not want your household assistance package, they do not want your transition plan, they do not want your promise of new green jobs—they want the security of the job they have today.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms AE Burke) (13:58): And if you want the call again, you won’t use the word ‘you’.
Mr CHESTER: When will one of you—just one of you—stand up for power station workers who will lose their jobs under your carbon tax? Whatever happened to this grand old party’s support for blue-collar workers?