Election's shock issue: electricity privatisation plan prompts job fears

THE Central West Union Alliance has asked for transparency from candidates on electricity privatisation in the lead-up to the state election, following allegations jobs might start falling before March.

THE Central West Union Alliance has asked for transparency from candidates on electricity privatisation in the lead-up to the state election, following allegations jobs might start falling before March.

THE Central West Union Alliance has asked for transparency from candidates on electricity privatisation in the lead-up to the state election, following allegations jobs might start falling before March. 

Alliance spokesman Joe Maric said most people opposed privatisation and a Coalition government victory in March was hardly a mandate to go ahead with the sale. 

“A referendum is needed given it’s opposed by the majority of people,” he said.

“Candidates need to clearly come out with whether they support, or don’t support, electricity privatisation.” 

Mr Maric said rumours had circulated claiming redundancies would occur prior to the state election, despite the Baird government putting off any privatisation until after the poll.

“The concern is it’s already taking place in preparation for privatisation going through,” he said.

“People are already planning how to spend the money, but in a couple of years there will be a massive hole in state revenue. Where will they come up with $3 billion a year?

“This government has not learned the lessons of privatisation,  it always means job losses and higher prices, the evidence on that is clear.” 

A TransGrid spokeswoman said the poles and wires provider was not preparing for privatisation and was not seeking voluntary redundancies.

Distributor Essential Energy will be exempt from the privatisation plan, however, a spokeswoman confirmed six employees based in Orange had applied for, and been granted, voluntary redundancies.

She said the losses were part of an effort to improve business efficiency and contain network price increases for customers to CPI.

“During this industry reform, the size of our workforce is being managed via a recruitment freeze, natural attrition and employee-initiated voluntary redundancy,” she said.

“The NSW government’s proposed 99-year lease of 49 per cent of the electricity distribution network businesses is a matter for the government.”

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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