Two Western District MPs have gone head-to-head on whether students should strike for the climate.
Member for Corangamite Libby Coker said young people were concerned about the future and should have a chance to have their say.
She has thrown her support behind students who plan to attend the School Strike for Climate on Friday, September 20 on the Civic Green in Warrnambool.
"Climate change is real and we must act to protect Australia's future," Ms Coker said.
"The students who are taking part in the School Strike for Climate on September 20 need to have a voice on future policy.
"They will be be voting at the next election and they are actively engaged, so they should be encouraged, not criticised."
However, Member for Western Victoria Bev McArthur has hit back at Ms Coker for encouraging students to attend the strike. The Warrnambool strike has been organised from 12.30pm to 1.30pm and organisers said people and students could attend during their lunch breaks.
Ms McArthur said it was irresponsible for any politician to encourage children to miss school to attend protest rallies.
"If people, including children want to protest, well and good but it should not be in school hours," Ms McArthur said.
"What's wrong with a protest on the weekend or would that not suit Ms Coker."
Ms McArthur also called on teachers to reject Ms Coker's encouragement for students to avoid class.
Ms Coker said the students had organised the strike on the last day of school before the school holidays.
"They've decided to take peaceful action in a really collaborative way," she said.
"It's not in the middle of the term, it's not in the middle of exams.
"I don't think we should be trying to stifle young people's opportunity to advocate for the future."
Ms Coker is also hosting a youth climate forum with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition at Deakin University in Waurn Ponds on Sunday, September 15.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.