Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams says she was extremely disappointed to hear Essential Energy intends to cut a large number of jobs from regional NSW, and has made it crystal clear that she will not tolerate any forced job losses locally.

“I have this morning contacted the Deputy Premier and made it very clear that any job losses in regional communities like Port Macquarie is totally unacceptable,” Mrs Williams said. “As a Nationals MP I have worked alongside my colleagues to ensure that Essential Energy jobs across the regions were protected as a part of earlier energy reforms. This has not changed and I will continue to advocate for regional jobs particularly when our communities are doing it so tough during this ongoing drought.”

NSW Nationals Leader and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro has called for an immediate halt to any decision by Essential Energy to carry out planned job cuts in the regions.

“Even though Essential Energy is a corporatised entity that reports to a board, I have been abundantly clear about the need for everyone to be doing their part and rallying around regional communities battling the worst drought on record,” Mr Barilaro said. “Essential Energy needs to be transparent about any planned decision around their regional workforce. This morning I have summoned the CEO of Essential Energy to a meeting to explain this decision. I also expect Essential Energy to provide a briefing to all affected regional MP’s about any forced job cuts.”