Business of the House

Danny O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (12:36): I am happy to say a few words on the government business program. I will begin by endorsing the member for Mordialloc’s commentary about the member for Warrandyte – the new member for Warrandyte. We all look forward to hearing her inaugural speech tomorrow night. It is a great honour to be in this place as a member of Parliament and as a representative of your community. I wish her all the best in her career and for her speech tomorrow night, which I look forward to.

As much as I do say it is an honour to be in this place, sometimes as a local member it is also difficult to be in this place at the wrong time. If I could make a very oblique connection to the Triple Zero Victoria Bill 2023 and perhaps, Speaker, with your indulgence, make a couple of comments. My community and the community of my colleague the member for Gippsland East are currently under threat from bushfire at the moment. Literally as we speak, I am very anxiously watching what is happening in Loch Sport. The fire has crisscrossed around the area and now, with potential wind changes, is threatening right on the edge of Loch Sport, which has only got one road in and one road out. I am quite anxious about what is happening there. I have just received a text from my wife to say it has started raining in Sale. There are a few spots being heard on rooftops in Loch Sport, but not much at the moment, and looking at the radar there does appear to be a bit of a hole around the areas that the fire is. But hopefully as the afternoon progresses the rain will come and address that issue. My thoughts are with the people of Loch Sport, Seacombe, Golden Beach, Paradise Beach and the areas around, which are under threat as we speak. I hope that very soon that threat will pass. Certainly there is concern. It has just been reported on social media – I hope this is wrong – that the Loch Sport police station has burnt down. I do hope that is wrong; it has not been confirmed as yet. Again, that is right on the edge of town. My thoughts go out to everyone who is concerned in Loch Sport at the moment and the surrounding area.

My great thanks of course to the many hundreds of CFA volunteers who are working not just in Loch Sport but also on the Briagolong fire and elsewhere and to the Forest Fire Management Victoria firefighters, who are doing their best in what have been pretty difficult circumstances in the last couple of days. There is fire now; we have forecasts for floods. My colleague the member for Gippsland East and I are getting the Emergency Management Victoria warnings to evacuate for fire and then, in the next day or two, for potential floods. It is just extraordinary. I do hope that soon that threat will pass. I thank you, Speaker, for your indulgence on that.

The government business program – as the member for Brighton indicated, it is interesting to actually have three bills to be debating this week. I thought it was a bit rich that the member for Mordialloc was talking about us putting up motions that are not important. That is what we have been debating on the government business program all year. There has been hardly any legislation, so they have been putting up motions.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Gippsland South, through the Chair.

Danny O’BRIEN: Sorry, Speaker. We have got three bills this week, including the Education and Training Reform Amendment (Land Powers) Bill 2023, which I look forward to debating. I heard the member for Mordialloc say what great things there are. We are bringing this bill now to allow us to build more early learning centres and child care as there were a number of announcements, including, both in the budget and in this bill, for Foster. Members will be surprised to learn that the Foster Early Learning centre has been open since the start of the year. I am not sure how they funded it, because it was only just funded in the budget in May, but anyway, the government is a little bit all over the shop on that particular one.

Tim Richardson: Did you get an invite?

Danny O’BRIEN: No, I did not get an invite to the opening. That is another sore point, member for Mordialloc, that once again local members do not get invited to these things unless they are on the right side of the chamber.

We also have the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Salute Prohibition) Bill 2023, which I look forward to speaking on, and the Triple Zero Victoria Bill 2023, which is very important. As I indicated, right now our emergency services are critical to the state and there have been significant failures in that area, particularly with respect to ambulances, over last couple of years, so I look forward to hearing whether this is actually going to make a difference. But it is disappointing that once again on this legislation we do not get the opportunity to go into consideration in detail to further debate it, and as a result that is why the opposition will not be supporting the government business program.

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