Dugald Saunders calls for Essential Energy CEO to go

NOT HAPPY: Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders and Deputy Premier John Barilaro are not happy with Essential Energy.
NOT HAPPY: Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders and Deputy Premier John Barilaro are not happy with Essential Energy.

Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders has called for Essential Energy CEO John Cleland to sack himself before dismissing hundreds of regional workers.

Mr Saunders was responding to reports the Essential Energy CEO would not pull back on proposed job cuts in Dubbo and other regional NSW towns.

"My call to John Cleland would be to pull back and reverse the job cuts decision and look for other ways to find efficiencies within the organisation," Mr Saunders said.

"The government has made it clear that Essential Energy needs to do the right thing.

"The Deputy Premier has requested Energy Minister Matt Kean direct Essential Energy not to cut jobs and to work with the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) to find other efficiencies rather than job cuts."


Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the state-owned Essential Energy has so far refused to comply with government policy.

"The NSW Government announced there would be no public sector regional job losses and as a government body, Essential Energy is expected to follow suit," Mr Barilaro said.

"Regional NSW is the backbone of this state, and as we continue to suffer through the worst drought on record, job losses are the last thing our communities need."

But the ETU say they are disappointed Mr Barilaro has failed to make any headway in protecting regional jobs at Essential Energy.

The ETU Secretary Justin Page said the union expected firmer action on protecting the jobs of frontline workers across regional NSW.

"The Nationals failing to enforce government policy and protect Essential Energy jobs will see the company continue with is devastating plan to slash one in five regional positions by 2024. The cuts will see an additional 500 workers lose their jobs on top of the 182 that Essential Energy last month announced would be cut from their workforce this year," Mr Page said.

National Party MPs have made many promises to save Essential Energy jobs, but once again are failing to live up to that commitment, providing empty rhetoric to these regional workers whose livelihoods are on the line.

"We expected the Nationals to be able to deliver on saving Essential Energy jobs. This lack of progress raises questions about the authority of the Nationals in this government. We welcome John Barilaro talking tough, but the Nationals need to toughen up. And the Liberals need to deliver. This is not acceptable, allowing the Essential Energy CEO to walk over them and defy their policy of protecting jobs."