Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps

August 8, 2013

Acting Energy Minister Andrew Cripps says despite “misinformation and scaremongering” by the Electrical Trades Union, the State Government has not made any decisions about the closure of any Ergon Energy depots.

Mr Cripps said he was disappointed with ongoing statements from the ETU that depot closures were part of the State Government’s response to the Inter Departmental Committee (IDC) report on Electricity Sector Reform.

“Let me be clear about this once and for all, there are no imminent depot closures as a result of the release of the IDC report,” Mr Cripps said.

“I understand this ETU scare campaign is causing unrest in rural and regional communities throughout Queensland.”

The IDC report contains a recommendation that states:

In the Ergon Energy service delivery area, consideration be given to the adoption of a Local Service Agent model for depots in the range of 8 to 15 employees where there would be improved services to customers, service delivery would be more cost effective and where there is broad support amongst staff for the adoption of this type of service delivery model.

“Clearly there are three criteria that would need to be satisfied before any decision could be made, including improved services to customers and broad support amongst staff,” Mr Cripps said.

He said any further consideration of the proposal would also require detailed consultation with employees.

“Following the release of the Queensland Government’s response to the IDC Report, Ergon has conducted information sessions with employees about the proposed reforms,” he said.

“Ergon Energy will continue to follow a careful process to ensure that any changes do not have an impact on regulated customer service levels and do not compromise the safety of employees, the community or the network.”

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The ETU described the LNP media statement as “weasel words” and cold comfort to regional and remote communities.

State organiser Stuart Traill said if the State Government didn’t guarantee there would be no closures, “the words mean nothing”.

“We have all seen this before, we all remember their promise that frontline workers had nothing to fear and they wanted to revitalise frontline services, well we have lost 1200 workers across Ergon, Energex and Powerlink in less than 12 months and the State has lost in excess of 15,000 public sector employees since the Newman government began its callous attack,” he said.

“Our members and their communities need certainty not rhetoric. We call on Cripps and every other regional LNP member to guarantee there will be no Ergon Energy depot closures in this term of government, a failure to provide this guarantee will mean the words of comfort are nothing more than weasel words.”

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It’s not only the ETU that is worried about Ergon Energy closures.

An LNP Branch meeting at Boondooma at the weekend expressed its concern over the recent closure of an Ergon depot at Proston.

The meeting was told there had been no consultation with the local community.

The concerns will now be raised with the local member, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney.

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