In parliament today I questioned the Minister for Agriculture over the impact that the Hazelwood power station closure could have on the dairy industry.
This is an energy-intensive industry, and any rise in energy costs may damage Victoria’s ability to be internationally competitive.
When questioned, the Minister was unable to give an answer on the impact increased energy costs would have on the dairy industry, and all but confirmed that she has not sought advice from her department on what the impact of the Hazelwood station closure will be on Victoria’s dairy industry.
Further, she failed to give a guarantee that dairy regions would be exempted from power blackouts due to load shedding; in fact, one of her Labor colleagues – who also happens to be a former Energy Trade Union representative – interjected saying there are no guarantees.
During my questions I made it explicitly clear to the Minister that dairy farmers need access to a secure power supply, particularly in order to maintain milk in vats at a constant 4 degree temperature until pickup, and I requested that the Labor Government guarantee any load shedding will not lead to the switching off of power to dairy regions in Victoria.