21 August 2019
The bitterly divided Berejiklian-Barilaro Government has refused to guarantee it will step in and stop the 39 job cuts at Essential Energy on the Mid North Coast, after a temporary “halt” was placed on the cuts to 182 jobs across regional NSW.
Essential Energy has confirmed it has merely been directed to “place [job cuts] on hold” while it “consider[s] alternate options for savings”.
It has taken the Liberals and Nationals five weeks to do anything, in the face of pressure from the community, Labor and the trade union movement and a visit by Labor Leader Jodi McKay to Essential Energy in Port Macquarie last week.
Essential has earmarked 500 jobs to be cut by 2024 – the first tranche of which is the 182 jobs cuts first announced in July which included 39 jobs on the Mid North Coast.
Labor asked in Question Time this week whether the Minister could guarantee that all 500 job cuts at Essential Energy will not just be halted – as announced by the Minister and confirmed by Essential Energy – but permanently abandoned. The Minister refused to give an answer.
Meanwhile energy workers and their families continue to be put through distress and trauma as they await for confirmation that their jobs have not just received a stay of execution.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said: “Essential Energy workers on the Mid North Coast deserve a guarantee they will still have their jobs by Christmas.
“A temporary halt offers no reassurance to anybody. This Government promised no regional job cuts and must immediately direct that result or fatally breach the community’s trust.”
“The Liberals and Nationals had to be shamed by us into action after doing nothing for five weeks.
“They only cared about the issue because there they faced such a huge uproar at their unwillingness to step in and save jobs on the Mid North Coast.
“It is my sincere hope that the Premier and Deputy Premier John Barilaro are not playing with the hopes of these 39 families on the Mid North Coast who have been put through hell, and that Essential Energy – which is 100% owned by her government – will not revisit these proposed job cuts when it thinks no one is looking” — Shadow Minister for Energy and the North Coast, Adam Searle