CALLS for Essential Energy not to sack 182 staff across regional NSW have been backed by Bathurst MP Paul Toole, but he has stopped short of saying the government should force the supplier to back down.
This week the NSW government-owned electricity supplier announced it would slash 71 field and 111 non-field positions from across regional NSW in an effort to "drive efficiencies in our business" and "deliver a better service at lower cost".
The Electrical Trades Union has signalled Bathurst out as an area that would be particularly hard hit by the cuts.
The job cut announcement was slammed by the supplier's own staff, the community and MPs in Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange.
Mr Toole said while Essential Energy had not revealed how many jobs would go in the Bathurst electorate, he believed it could be five positions.
He said Essential Energy was a state-owned corporation which operated independently of the government.
At the end of the day I think they're going to be given a pretty good rocket up them about what we want to see happening in the bush rather than them thinking what needs to happen.- Bathurst MP Paul Toole
However, when asked if the NSW Government would force the supplier to abandon the job cuts, Mr Toole said "they've got the message loud and clear".
"At the end of the day I think they're going to be given a pretty good rocket up them about what we want to see happening in the bush rather than them thinking what needs to happen," Mr Toole said.
"We've give them a pretty scathing letter back telling them it's unacceptable."
Mr Barilaro said on Wednesday that he was disappointed to hear such a large number of jobs were being cut and that Essential Energy needed to be transparent.
"I have summoned the CEO of Essential Energy to a meeting to explain the company's position," he said.
"Regional NSW is in the grips of one of the most severe droughts on record and everyone needs to do their part to make sure our regions are able to endure the worst of this drought."
I have summoned the CEO of Essential Energy to a meeting to explain the company's position.- NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro
Mr Toole said this was an example of the Nationals party sticking up for regional Australians.
"Rural communities are doing it tough and it's important that those jobs are retained in those local communities," he said.
"The further you go out west it can be the difference between a school keeping it's doors opened or closing, it can be the difference between supporting a local small business owner."
Essential Energy's annual report for 2017-18 reports that the supplier recorded an after-tax loss of $11.6 million.
"This resultwas negatively impacted by a one-off adjustment of approximately $19m relating to street lighting revenue in preceding years. Investment in our business transformation program to achieve longer term efficiencies was also a contributing factor to the FY2017-18 result
"We remain focused on ensuring the business is sustainable in the long term and continues to have access to capital to operate, maintain and expand critical network infrastructure."
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