Nationals Leader John Barilaro is facing his first real test as the representative for NSW regional and rural communities, after Essential Energy was given the green light to slash hundreds of jobs.
The Fair Work Commission today handed down a decision that will allow the NSW Government-owned electricity distributor to axe up to 600 staff by 30 June 2018.
Under the decision any obstacles to forced job cuts will be removed from 1 July 2018.
The new Deputy Premier needs to stand up to Mike Baird and urge the Premier to protect the jobs of highly-skilled power workers in the bush.
Regional and rural communities that rely on Essential Energy for employment have already taken a massive hit under the Liberal-National Government with the company having cut 1,400 jobs since 2011.
Opposition Leader Luke Foley has called on the NSW government to act:
“This is the first real test for John Barilaro; will he stand up for rural and regional jobs or will he rollover for the Libs?
“The Baird-Barilaro Government has the power to stop this.
“This decision will sign the death warrant for a number of regional and rural communities in NSW, it can’t be allowed to go ahead.”
Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle says regional workers have been let down:
“If John Barilaro fails to protect these 600 jobs it will make a mockery of his promise to stand up for people in the bush.
“Essential Energy has already lost 1,400 jobs since 2011 under this Government.
“Regional and rural communities already have high unemployment rates. The Nationals can’t continue to let them down.”