21 September 2017
Ms RYAN (Euroa) — My question is to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. Colbinabbin's Alan Meyers owns and operates a stock feed mill, supplying feed to dairy farmers across the Goulburn Valley and Gippsland. Alan's electricity prices increased by 110 per cent last month, after his existing contract expired. The increase has forced Alan to call in debts, potentially bankrupting several farmers. Minister, with dairy farmers in Victoria already struggling due to milk price cuts, how many more need to face bankruptcy before you acknowledge the energy cost crisis facing Victorian farmers that is happening under your watch?
Ms Ryan — On a point of order, Speaker, on the issue of relevance, this question went to the fact that there are dairy farmers across my area and across northern Victoria who are now facing bankruptcy as a result of rising energy prices. Their minister is yet to address that. She is yet to explain what the government are going to do to address their policy, which is directly driving up costs for dairy farmers and people like Alan Meyers, and I would ask you to bring her back to answering that question.
Ms RYAN — For the record, Minister, Alan Meyers's issues relate to electricity, not to gas, but when his contract expires Alan's lowest cost option will be to go off the grid and install dirty diesel generators if he wants to stay afloat. Minister, can you explain how forcing businesses to install diesel generators will help Victoria meet its renewable energy targets?