In the face of Daniel Andrews’ resistance, the Liberal Nationals have been successful in securing a regional sitting of the Upper House in the fire affected communities of Victoria’s north-east.
Shamefully, Andrews has scrapped regional sittings that have been established practice between 1999 and 2014.
The arrogant Premier opposed the call by Liberal Leader Michael O’Brien and Nationals Leader Peter Walsh for the Legislative Council to sit in the north-east and the Legislative Assembly to sit in East Gippsland.
The fire-affected communities of Victoria’s north-east and East Gippsland deserve the clear support of the Parliament and for Parliament to come to them and listen to their concerns, but Andrews would have none of it.
The spending associated with the Parliamentary sitting will include members and staff overnight stays, food and accommodation and the hire of relevant facilities, which will directly assist the impacted regions’ visitor economy.
It is important that the Parliament shows it is prepared to go to the people rather than tell the people to come to them.
The location and date will be left to Parliamentary officials to determine but the Legislative Council has ordered that the visit to the north-east will occur in October or November this year. The parliamentary directive is attached.
The Hon Wendy Lovell, Member for Northern Victoria, led debate on this motion.
That this House —
(1) acknowledges the serious impact of the recent Victorian bushfires;
(2) meets and sits in North East Victoria for one day in October or November 2020;
(3) requires the President and the Clerk of the Legislative Council to consult with Towong Shire Council, Alpine Shire Council, Indigo Shire Council, the Rural City of Wangaratta and Wodonga Council and other Parliamentary staff in relation to choosing an appropriate date and specific location for the regional sitting to occur; and
(4) authorises the President to do all things necessary to facilitate the Council sitting in North East Victoria in October or November 2020.
David Davis MP
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council