Media Release

14 February 2020

Internal Ausgrid documents reveal that the promise by Gladys Berejiklian of guaranteed workforce numbers at Ausgrid has been broken.

As part of the privatisation deal in 2016, then Treasurer Ms Berejiklian committed that Ausgrid and the other government-owned electricity companies to be sold would have a guaranteed minimum number of employees up until 30 June 2020.

But new documents reveal that at December 2019, Ausgrid had only 3,228 employees – fewer than the 3,570 required by law and far fewer than the almost 4,300 claimed by the Berejiklian Government this week.

With 20,000 homes still without power after the latest destructive storms, it is clear the Premier has broken her commitment to the community and must explain herself.

Labor Leader Jodi McKay MP said: “These leaked documents show the Premier has broken her promise to the community, that Ausgrid would have a guaranteed minimum number of employees, to ensure the integrity of the network and service to the community.

“Ausgrid has cut 1,300 jobs from its workforce since 2015, and 3,000 since this government took office.

“It would have been able to clear storm debris faster, make safe and reconnect homes to power much quicker if it had the number of employees the Premier promised it would have.

“In recent days we have seen Ausgrid struggle to do its job in the time expected by the community. Now we learn that it does not have the resources it should have, which it clearly needed. Why else did it ask for the army to assist?

“The Government is in complete disarray – calling out the army one minute and backflipping the next. It is struggling to put enough resources in place to properly support the community in the wake of these storms.

“The Premier must answer for her broken promise.”

Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Adam Searle said: “This week the Berejiklian Government and its Energy Minister claimed Ausgrid had more employees than before it was privatised.

“These documents from Ausgrid show that is not true. Ausgrid has over one thousand jobs less than the government claimed yesterday, and several hundred fewer than required by law.

“No wonder Ausgrid has been struggling to do the job expected of it by the community. Ausgrid would be far better placed to reconnect more homes to electricity faster if it had an extra thousand employees on the ground” — Adam Searle MLC, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy

In the Media

ABC Radio Sydney – 12 February 2020 – Extended Interview: Searle on electricity company workforce slashes

2GB Radio – 12 February 2020 – Searle on Ausgrid workforce slash affecting timely power restorations

ABC News – 13 February 2020 – Ausgrid accused of understaffing by almost 10 per cent, amid storm repairs backlog

2SM Radio – 14 February 2020 – Searle on Ausgrid workforce cuts affecting restoration of power after storms

Daily Telegraph – 14 February 2020 – Premier Gladys Berejiklian accused of ‘lying’ over Ausgrid job figures