The Electrical Trades Union has called on Dubbo MP Troy Grant to urgently intervene following revelations that Essential Energy plans to close a warehouse that provides materials for maintenance and repairs to the electricity network across a large part of the state.
The Essential Energy warehouse in Hawthorn Street, Dubbo could be closed in as little as four weeks, resulting in six local jobs being lost and requiring electrical equipment to be shipped from either Wagga Wagga or Grafton when needed in an emergency.
The union said the Dubbo warehouse is responsible for providing items to Essential Energy depots across a large part of the state, including: Bathurst, Blayney, Broken Hill, Bourke, Canowindra, Cobar, Condobolin, Coonamble, Cowra, Forbes, Gilgandra, Lake Cargelligo, Molong, Narromine, Nyngan, Oberon, Orange, Tottenham, Walgett, Warren, West Wyalong, Wilcannia, and Young.
ETU assistant secretary Justin Page said that National Party MPs promised to save Essential Energy ahead of the 2015 election, but had repeatedly failed to live up to that commitment.
“Far from saving Essential Energy, National Party MPs across the state have stood by while 2,000 regional jobs were slashed and more than 100 depots and workplaces were closed down,” Mr Page said.
“Dubbo MP Troy Grant and National Party leader John Barilaro need to stand up to their Liberal Party masters in Macquarie Street and tell them that regional NSW will not suffer any further cuts to essential services.
“On average, people in regional NSW are waiting up to three times longer to have their power restored following a blackout, yet the NSW Government’s only response is to allow yet another vital facility to be closed down.”
Mr Page said there was no question regional power users — who already pay much higher prices for electricity — would be left worse off following the closure of the Dubbo warehouse.
“This warehouse is one of only three similar facilities run by Essential Energy, and as well as managing the materials needed for ongoing maintenance and repairs it plays a vital role during emergencies,” he said.
“When bushfires or storms cause widespread damage to the electrical network across large parts of NSW, it is the centrally located Dubbo warehouse that ensures the materials that are needed to get the lights back on are delivered quickly to the areas in need.
“Troy Grant and John Barilaro need to stop the death by a thousand cuts that Essential Energy has been suffering during the past three years and instead ensure that service standards and quality jobs are protected for the sake of everyone living in regional NSW.
“The promise that they would save Essential Energy needs to be turned into genuine actions, which requires the National Party to stand up to the Berejiklian Government, say enough is enough, and demand an end to the closures of facilities and cutting of jobs in regional NSW.”