6 March 2020
Minister for Energy, Matt Kean MP, admitted in Budget Estimates today that some 500 jobs would be lost at the state owned Essential Energy Corporation, which operates electricity network services across 95% of regional and rural New South Wales.
The Berejiklian-Barilaro Government was recently shamed into making a formal direction to Essential Energy not to go ahead with its plans to cut 182 jobs from its regional workforce, but the directive expires in August 2020 and only applied to the 182 jobs which had been slated for the first batch of redundancies.
The directive does not apply to a separate plan by Essential Energy to sack 500 workers by 2024, which came to light late last year in a leaked document received by the Electrical Trades Union.
“The loss of some 500 jobs across regional New South Wales will be a devastating blow to the towns and communities which those workers call home, and the Nationals must be held to account for being complicit every step of the way,” Ms Catley said.
Since 2012, the workforce at Essential Energy has nearly halved as more than 2000 jobs have been slashed, drastically reducing the number of skilled front-line workers available to respond to blackouts, storm damage, or other major incidents.
“At a time when the importance of frontline workers at our energy utilities couldn’t be clearer, this government is slashing jobs and putting the reliability and safety of our electricity networks in jeopardy” — Adam Searle MLC, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy
These job cuts come at the same time it was revealed that Premier Berejiklian had lied about the number of frontline workers at Ausgrid, the urban electricity network. Ausgrid struggled for weeks to reconnect tens of thousands of homes which had been cut off during major storms because it lacked the skilled personnel to undertake crucial repairs.