Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (15:26): I am very pleased to rise to speak on this motion. I just want to make note of the kind of graffiti amendment that the opposition has put forward today. It is almost like they crossed out some of the letters so the word means something different altogether—omit ‘Green New Deal’, omit ‘wildlife’, insert ‘roads and pollution’. You know—how to completely change the whole motion. In fact I think I am going to take some inspiration from this and look out for opportunities to do the same kind of graffiti on some of Mr Finn’s future motions.
But yes, we do need to do things differently, and this year, as this motion says, has been difficult for us all and certainly far more difficult for many people in our community. This is going to have a long tail. The year 2020 is going to reverberate for the rest of this decade. This will not be forgotten, and we will need to do things differently. But let us take that as the opportunity that it could be, and this is what a lot of this motion goes to—the opportunities that are in front of us to do things differently. I totally support this. I think we are seeing the world recognise this.
We have all done things differently. As someone who is chairing the homelessness inquiry brought to the Legal and Social Issues Committee by Mr Barton, we are hearing how things can be done differently and how COVID has enabled that to happen and has enabled us to do things differently. No-one would have thought in January this year that we would have been able to find housing for every single person who needed it and every single person who wanted it. Now the challenge is to maintain that. Now the challenge is to keep that going.
We are working differently. Who would have thought that we would be Zooming each other, that we would be in Brady Bunch boxes for most of the day? But it has shown that we can do things differently. For many people, not being able to go to work, or not having a job, has been really difficult and damaging. That is why we do need to invest in our careworkers; we do need to invest. Again, if this year has shown us anything, it is that we need to invest in our health system. This year has shown the cracks or the crevices in our health system, and certainly in our mental health area. So, yes, we can invest. We know that the dollar that you invest into a care economy is a far better dollar than the one you invest in a hard hat job.
It seems that some people think that the only way you can create a job is to build a road. That is not the case. We have shown that by working differently, by staggering our start times, by working from home some days and working in the office on other days that we are actually possibly not going to need the infrastructure that we had planned. We are not going to need all of it, and we should be rethinking this. We should be rethinking how we can invest in our community in really meaningful ways.
As we have seen with the congestion on our roads—well, there is not any. On public transport systems, we are able to socially distance on the trams at almost any time of the day because we are doing it differently. As the Grattan Institute said, we could be creating ‘a herd of white elephants’ if we go ahead with some of the infrastructure that is being planned.
So I support this motion. I laugh at the amendments. I did; I thought, ‘Look, if this was a joke, it was hilarious’. But I support this motion. We can do things differently, we must do things differently and we must take on the challenges that this year has brought to us—the harm that this year has done to many of us. We need to take that and we need to look at that and do it differently, do it better and create a better economy, a better Victoria.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Motion by Dr Ratnam 11/11/20
Dr RATNAM (Northern Metropolitan) (14:06): I am pleased to move:
That this house:
(1) supports a Green New Deal for Victoria;
(2) notes that 2020 has been an extremely difficult year for Victorians, starting with horrendous bushfires and followed by the COVID-19 pandemic;
(3) further notes that increasing unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as climate change and rising economic inequality, are key challenges facing Victoria into the future;
(4) acknowledges that the upcoming state budget must provide for a plan to build Victoria back better, with significant investment from the government to create jobs and build a caring society and clean economy;
(5) calls on the government to create tens of thousands of good-quality new jobs through investing in:
(a) publicly owned renewable energy and storage projects to address climate change and transitioning Victoria away from fossil fuels;
(b) a big build of new public housing to help end homelessness;
(c) employing more educators, healthcare workers, nurses and social support workers so all Victorians can get the care they need;
(d) restoring our precious natural environment by regenerating bushfire-affected areas, protecting threatened species and planting trees and native vegetation;
(e) walking, bike riding and public transport to cut traffic and reduce emissions;
(f) reviving our main shopping streets to support jobs in retail, hospitality and services; and
(g) a recycling revolution to reduce waste and protect our waterways and wildlife