NSW Nationals Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams has called on the Government to investigate Essential Energy and their attempts to drastically reduce its regional workforce.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday night, Mrs Williams said: “We know that over 180 jobs at Essential Energy are forecast to go in the months ahead but my fear is that this may just be the tip of the iceberg.”

“Over the past three weeks numerous Essential Energy employees have contacted me. Through face-to-face interviews, telephone conversations and emails they have reported their utter dismay, growing anguish and distress at the current management of the business, including allegations of misappropriation of resources, increasing operational costs, diminished workplace safety and bullying,” Mrs Williams said. “They have all alleged that the public commentary relating to efficiencies is a far cry from the reality and that in fact, over recent years, expenditure has continued to dramatically increase to the detriment of local jobs.”

Reports by Essential Energy employees both past and present had overwhelmingly highlighted a burgeoning senior executive, Mrs Williams said, with frontline workers bearing the brunt of cost-shifting. Scrutiny of the Essential Energy Annual Report 2017-18 (page 54) substantiated some of those concerns, she said.

“Last week in Port Macquarie I met with Justin Page from the Electrical Trade Union. I appreciated his input and frank conversation. I have met with the Treasurer’s office and the Minister for Energy and Environment and I am in ongoing discussions with the office of the Deputy Premier,” Mrs Williams said. “As a regional member of Parliament I consider it absolutely unacceptable to witness significant local job losses on the one hand and reports of unnecessary and exorbitant expenditure by management on the other.”

“I call on the New South Wales Government as a matter of urgency to consider an independent investigation into Essential Energy and the various concerns that have been raised with me.”