Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (19:05): I am pleased to rise and support this motion. I think this motion is in many ways about recognising that we are in a climate emergency. It is recognising that we have to do things differently. I acknowledge a lot of the government’s comments about the actions that they are taking, the projects that they have underway, but it just grates when you still say ‘But drilling for gas is still okay. We are doing great things’—and I actually do not doubt that. I actually think that Victoria is ahead, and I think the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change is passionate about this issue—I do not doubt that for one second.
Maybe it is just the optics of this that are unsettling. Yesterday we were talking about the Great Ocean Road and how fabulous it is. Look, I do not normally support apostles, particularly not 12 of them, but I love these apostles. I think it is the optics: that there is this beautiful part of Victoria that attracts millions and millions of people and has taken millions of years to create but somehow we think it is all right to extract gas from this area. I just think it is a strange place. More importantly, it sends this message that we still think that we need gas, and I do not think we do. I think Victoria is better than that, and we are proving that we are better than that. I think about that Great Ocean Road and that area and what would happen if something happened at that gas well. How would that affect the environment around that most beautiful, pristine part of our state?
Natural gas is not harmless. We know that it is used by many industries, and I get that. Far be it from me to try and close down the fertiliser industry—although you could say we create quite a bit of it here!
Mrs McArthur interjected.
Ms PATTEN: Interestingly—I am just taking up Mrs McArthur’s interjection about closing down the dairy industry because you cannot drive with milk—did you hear that Prince Charles has actually powered his Aston Martin with cheese and white wine? I do not think it is actually commercially viable, but Prince Charles does do it.
Ms PATTEN: I apologise for distracting others—and myself.
What we have to accept is that we are in a climate emergency. What we have to accept is that we have to do things differently. And on this notion of continuing with transitions, we know that natural gas does contribute a significant amount of Australia’s greenhouse gases—around 19 per cent—and we know a lot of it is actually not coming from cows but from gas leakage.
This is a time when we need to be saying, ‘We’re going to do things differently; we can do things better’. I thought Dr Ratnam gave an incredibly spirited contribution on this. I also thought Ms Taylor’s contribution was extremely spirited. I think this is encouraging. And Mrs McArthur was spirited as well. I know Mrs McArthur cares about the environment; I know she does, and I know she is passionate about this part of Victoria. But right now we need to be telling people we are doing things differently: that we are not relying on gas, that we can move forward, that there are many other things that we can do—so many other ways that we can meet the needs of our fertiliser companies, our glassmaking companies and our aluminium smelters. We can do things differently and we must do things differently.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan
Motion by Ms Ratnam 13/10/21