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Minister Kean answers the last question for 2019

21 November 2019

The SPEAKER: The member for Heathcote has the final question for the year.

Mr LEE EVANS (Heathcote) (15:32:11): My question is addressed to the Minister for Energy and Environment. Will the Minister update the House on the state of the environment and the power systems in New South Wales?

Mr MATT KEAN (Hornsby—Minister for Energy and Environment) (15:32:40): Mr Speaker, I start by wishing you a very Merry Christmas. I thank you for your leadership of the House. In fact, all members have really enjoyed the way you have managed to extend question time by an hour every day with all those rulings. I also thank the member for Heathcote for a great question. I note that it is great to get a question from the member for Heathcote at this very busy time of year for him; after all, he is the Santa of the south. With late night shopping tonight, I hear he has got to get away early to fill his shift at Westfield Miranda.

I reflect on what has been a very busy and long year for all of us. In fact, it has been a year of milestones. What better way to start the year than the election of the State's first-ever female Premier, the most outstanding Premier that this State has ever had. It is not just firsts for members on this side of the House; there are also some firsts on the opposite side of the House. The Labor Party has elected its first female Leader of the Opposition as well. I congratulate the Leader of the Opposition. She has become the third-longest-serving Labor leader since 2011. She ran past the Hon. Penny Sharpe. Also last week, she just passed the outstanding milestone—

Mr Greg Warren: Point of order—

The SPEAKER: The Clerk will stop the clock. I know the Minister does not want me to stop the clock and extend things, but I think he might appreciate it.

Mr Greg Warren: My point of order relates to Standing Order 129. There is absolutely no relevance.

The SPEAKER: I am going to give some latitude to the Minister, this being the last question on Thursday in the last question time of the year.

Mr Greg Warren: I think you have given a lot of latitude that has been taken for granted.

The SPEAKER: As long as it is in good humour, I am going to give a lot of latitude.

Mr MATT KEAN: I am acknowledging these milestones. What a significant milestone it was that the Leader of the Opposition this week passed "Memory Loss Maroubra's" long reign as the Leader of the Opposition of 137 days. The only thing standing in her way between that and the goal of passing Luke Foley's leadership record is the member for Kogarah, who would be happy with today'sDaily Telegraph. Merry Christmas, Mr Minns. We know your turn is not coming too soon.

Mr Jihad Dib: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 129.

The SPEAKER: I have ruled on that. I have made my position clear on this question.

Mr Jihad Dib: We have not had the humour, Mr Speaker. Bring back Robbo.

Mr MATT KEAN: It has been a big year for our power system, with the Government delivering the Queensland and New South Wales interconnector. That has delivered an additional 190 megawatts into the capacity of New South Wales that will help us keep the lights on and drive prices down in New South Wales. That is what the Coalition Government is all about—lower prices and reliable energy in New South Wales. The Government has also delivered the Emerging Energy program, which is about delivering cleaner and newer generation into New South Wales.

It has also been a big year for the environment. This year we have seen the collection of 2.6 billion containers through the Return and Earn scheme. That is 2.6 billion cans, bottles and containers that are not going into our parks, are not going into our waterways and are not going into our beaches, just in time for summer. It is a great win for our environment; another great program delivered by the Coalition. In addition to that, we have delivered an additional 65,000 hectares into our national park estate. We have delivered almost the biggest new addition to our national park estate in 10 years. That includes the Mutawintji State Conservation Area. This is a huge win not only for our environment but for our cultural heritage in western New South Wales.

Another great item for our environment is our Saving Our Species program. We have saved some of our most threatened and endangered species and returned them to their native environment in areas that have not seen them for over a century. We are delivering for our environment. I am not the only one passionate about our threatened species in New South Wales. You know who else shares my passion for protecting threatened species? It is the Leader of the Opposition. She protected "Cover-up Kayla". What is she doing today? She will not fire Finn.

Mr Ryan Park: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 73. I would think even this time—

The SPEAKER: I caution the Minister in relation to Standing Order 73.

Mr MATT KEAN: The Leader of the Opposition will not fire Finn. How does she give the community confidence that there is nothing to see here—not calling in ICAC, not calling in the Electoral Commission, not calling in the police, but calling in that incorruptible institution otherwise known as the Labor Party to investigate these claims. [Extension of time]

Mr Greg Warren: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 73. It is a personal reflection that is an inappropriate representation.

The SPEAKER: I am listening intently. I ask the Minister to continue, but to be very careful.

Mr MATT KEAN: This could all just be one giant misunderstanding. We have all had imaginary friends when we were kids. The member for Kiama still has imaginary friends and uses them to stack branches and undermine democracy.

Mr Greg Warren: Point of order—

The SPEAKER: The Clerk will stop the clock. I cannot hear what is being said, so I cannot rule on the member's point of order.

Mr Greg Warren: Apart from the Minister talking about his imaginary friend John Barilaro, he is being totally irrelevant.

The SPEAKER: The member for Campbelltown will resume his seat. The Minister has just over a minute.

Mr MATT KEAN: There could be a perfectly simple explanation for this. "Old Milky" was just running late to a few meetings—him and everyone he had ever met before. That is exactly what happened. In sympathy with the member for Granville, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. It would be very hard to get real people to attend a branch meeting when the discourse is from Laurie Ferguson and Lynda Voltz.

The SPEAKER: The Clerk will stop the clock.

Mr Michael Daley: Point of order: On behalf of all members, I ask you to invoke the mercy rule. This is not relevant, skilful or funny. It is what happens when you send a junior in to do a man's work.

The SPEAKER: It is lovely to hear from the member for Maroubra, who is now on three calls to order.

Mr MATT KEAN: A bit like his leadership of the Opposition—was that not a spectacular failure? A spectacular failure insulting our immigrants. The member could not get across the facts, running on his horrible record of his time on Maroubra council where he looked after the interests of Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi. What a disgrace. The reality is, nothing has changed in Labor and it is the same old Labor. The Leader of the Opposition would not kick our Kayla and she will not fire Finn. Jodie McKay owes her career to "Cover-up Kayla" and Julia Finn, who is her best friend and that is why she will not move on her. They are a rotten carcass. Nothing has changed in Labor.