Politicians score points as workers face cuts
AS both sides of politics accuse each other of cheap political point scoring, Essential Energy workers across the region face an uncertain future.
As many as 182 jobs could go across the state, with many of those on the Mid North Coast, with the deadline for negotiations looming at the end of the week.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay was in the region yesterday and highlighted the plight of workers and accused The Nationals of inaction and cheap point scoring.
"Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro promised that he can save the jobs but he has three days before the deadline elapses on Friday," Ms McKay said.
"John Barilaro and the Nationals keep talking about how they are standing up for the regions but they have done nothing to stop Liberal cuts to services in the regions.
"Instead of strutting and crowing John Barilaro should be honest and just admit he is powerless to stop the Liberal shareholder Ministers - Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Finance Minister Damien Tudehope - from pushing ahead with these cuts."
It is believed at least 34 workers from Port Macquarie and a further 11 from Grafton are set to lose their jobs.
State Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh does not believe there will be job losses in Coffs Harbour but has been unable to confirm this. He has also defended his leader.
"I know Mr Barilaro has met with the Electrical Trade Union and it's a bit rich for Jodi to come up to Port and try to get a political win out of this."
He admits it's not a 'good look' for Essential Energy in Port Macquarie with the job losses coinciding with the construction of a new administration building in the town.
Ms McKay met with Essential Energy workers at the Westport Club on Tuesday and was joined by Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Jobs, Yasmin Catley, and Shadow Energy Minister, Adam Searle.
Essential Energy, which operates the electricity poles and wires across 95 per cent of the state, has gutted more than 2000 jobs from its ranks since 2015.
"John Barilaro issued a statement on July 4 saying he would make sure these jobs aren't cut, yet here we are on August 13 and jobs are still being lost," Ms Catley said.