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Renewable Energy Zones

16 February 2021

Mr DUGALD SAUNDERS (Dubbo) (14:49): My question is addressed to the Minister for Energy and Environment. Will the Minister update the House on how the Government's policies on renewable energy zones will create jobs across New South Wales?

Mr MATT KEAN (Hornsby—Minister for Energy and Environment) (14:49): What a great question from a great member, the member for Dubbo. I know he is not the only member in the Chamber who is interested in jobs—isn't that right, member for Keira? There are a few people here interested in talking about jobs at the moment. It is great to be back in Parliament. We have had some great rulings from you straight out of the blocks, Mr Speaker—that is fantastic stuff. I ask you to put the lettuce away for this one, though. Here we are a year closer to the election and members opposite are no closer to government. That is the reality. It has been a tough summer for them. They are still faced with the same choice: a leadership ballot between Marginal Minns and Missing McKay. Let me give them a hot tip: They cannot vote for you if they do not know who you are!

Ms Yasmin Catley: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 129. I am very interested to hear about the renewable energy zone in the Hunter and what the Minister's plans are. We would like him to move onto the topic.

The SPEAKER: The Minister is making preliminary comments. The Minister has the call.

Mr MATT KEAN: I do digress. I will go back to the question—what was it? It was about creating jobs in New South Wales. There is no greater creator of jobs than the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government in New South Wales. The reality is that our energy road map is the biggest job creation scheme—the biggest nation-building scheme—since the Snowy Hydro. Our energy road map will deliver 9,000 construction jobs in New South Wales over the next decade. We will be creating thousands of ongoing jobs to ensure that our kids and their kids have opportunities, not only in the cities but mainly in the regions. It is a jobs bonanza for the bush.

That is what Coalition governments deliver: jobs, opportunities and investment. Did I mention the investment? Our energy road map will see over $50 billion of investment coming into New South Wales. This is about jobs and investment. Most importantly, it will deliver the citizens of New South Wales some of the cheapest, most reliable and cleanest energy anywhere on the planet. What does that mean? That means jobs in new industries like green steel, green aluminium, cement and, of course, hydrogen. But those low energy prices will not only drive down bills for families in New South Wales but also mean an economic bonanza for those energy-intensive industries that already exist—businesses such as Tomago Aluminium.

But members should not take my word for it. They should take the word of some of the biggest employers in the State, such as the CEO of BlueScope, who said the New South Wales Government's energy road map would stimulate a manufacturing renaissance in New South Wales—delivered by a Coalition Government. It is not just industry spruiking our wares; it is also the Australian Industry Group and its CEO, Innes Willox. You have heard of him haven't you, Premier?

Ms Gladys Berejiklian: Absolutely.

Mr MATT KEAN: He is an outstanding champion for business and jobs. He says that the New South Wales energy road map will lower costs overall. Low costs for New South Wales families and low costs for New South Wales businesses means jobs, jobs, jobs. It is a jobs bonanza right here in New South Wales. But who is owning this space? It is not the alleged party of the workers opposite. It is a Coalition government that is delivering jobs and driving investment into New South Wales, delivering cheap, reliable energy that also happens to be clean, setting us up for success now and into the future as we grab these new opportunities that are emerging in international markets. We are creating new industries around green steel, hydrogen, cement, manufacturing and agriculture. This is what Coalition governments do. It is an exciting time to be in New South Wales.

While we are focused on creating new jobs, those opposite are focused on taking other people's jobs. I read a great piece from that fine investigative journalist fromThe Daily Telegraph, Anna Caldwell. The extent of her investigations was picking up the phone to the member for Rockdale. He said, "We are further behind now than we have ever been." [Extension of time]

Mr Jihad Dib: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 129. Whilst the Minister was talking about energy in relation to the question, everybody was quiet. Once again he has strayed well away from the question, which was about renewable energy zones, I believe.

The SPEAKER: I ask the Minister to remain relevant.

Mr MATT KEAN: It is about jobs. It is about energy creating jobs. Low energy prices mean jobs for the bush, jobs for the cities and jobs right across the State. This is a job-creating government. We on this side are driving new industries, investing in new opportunities and underwriting the prosperity of today and tomorrow, making sure that New South Wales is not only the powerhouse of the Australian economy but the powerhouse of the world, because of the cheap, reliable and clean energy that we will deliver as a result of this road map. Maybe the member for Lakemba was the unnamed source in Anna Caldwell's article who said, "We are further behind now than we have ever been."

Mr Jihad Dib: Point of order: Unlike the Minister, I do not leak to the press. My point of order relates to Standing Order 129. The Minister has definitely strayed well away from the question.

The SPEAKER: I will hear further from the Minister.

Mr MATT KEAN: I see lots of names being touted as the future leader of the Labor Party, but no-one is touting the member for Lakemba. They are touting many fine people. Getting back to the point, why is the Opposition further behind than it has ever been when it has names like "Missing McKay", "Marginal Minns", "Can't Count Keira" and "Developer Daley"? Is it any wonder those opposite are so far from government it is not funny?

Ms Yasmin Catley: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 70. The Minister is being deliberately quarrelsome and I ask that you bring him back to the leave of the question.

The SPEAKER: The Minister has completed his answer.

Business interrupted.