Ms RYALL (Ringwood) — The Andrews Labor government stands condemned for forcing up energy prices. The tripling of coal royalties out of greed and the forcing of the closure of Hazelwood immediately removed 22 per cent of our baseload power, something that every Victorian relies on. The impact on my community, in the electorate of Ringwood, is massive. Cost-of-living pressures, including the suite of additional and new taxes compliments of the Andrews government, mean that many people are doing it tough. This also means decisions are being made regarding turning on heating in the cold period and turning on air conditioners during the hot season. The impact on the vulnerable is alarming.
Small businesses are facing a crisis, particularly those that rely on significant energy for their business. A greengrocer I spoke to recently is looking at all the ways he can reduce costs because he simply cannot pass his massive energy bills on to customers, as that means not remaining competitive with the big supermarkets. LightFM, a community radio station with 1 million listeners in my electorate, face a tripling of their energy bills. They are a not-for-profit reliant on the generosity of the public for donations. Sporting clubs are doing it tough in the face of electricity costs. Hospitals have huge energy costs, and the question is whether the government is giving them extra funding for that. And there is an impact on community services. There is no-one that the reckless policies of this Premier have not impacted and continue to impact. This lies squarely at the feet of the Premier.