6 March 2020
Labor has today called on the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to rule out future job cuts at electricity provider Ausgrid, after Minister Kean was blindsided by revelations another 500 positions were set to go.
At Budget Estimates today the Minister was unable to assure the parliament that Ausgrid was not operating below its minimum legislated staff numbers, and appeared not to know about the planned extra cuts.
Ausgrid has shed almost 3000 jobs under this government and is now operating at its lowest staffing levels in years.
Leaked documents released during the recent storm-induced blackouts showed the operator had cut its workforce to 3228 – well below the legally required 3570 employees. The regulator’s legislated minimum floor on job numbers is there to provide a minimum staffing level for energy provision. However this safety net is due to be expire in July this year.
Documents now reveal that Ausgrid plans to cut another 500 jobs after that. There will be 42 front line jobs gone in the Newcastle/Hunter region, including 23 in Newcastle and 11 in the Upper Hunter.
Ausgrid already admitted it lacked the staff to meet the challenges of the recent storms. Now it plans to cut even more staff, reducing its capability even further. And the Minister revealed to Parliament that the Berejiklian Government today has no plan to address this.
This comes after Premier Gladys Berejiklian was revealed to have lied on Ausgrid job cuts, when she claimed the utility had more jobs than before it was privatised.
“The government must have greater oversight on an industry that is failing to deliver the basic service of powering homes and businesses, as we saw by failures during the blackouts” — Adam Searle MLC
“In fact it has over one thousand jobs less than the government claimed, so it is no wonder Ausgrid struggled to do the job expected of it by the community during the recent outages,” Mr Searle said.