Qld Government switches off more than 400 power jobs

More than 400 workers in the Queensland power industry have lost their jobs after the Palaszczuk Government dumped $4.1 billion worth of debt off its accounts and onto state-owned power distributors.

During 2015-16, 296 full-time positions were slashed at Ergon Energy and 116 from Energex, with most cuts to frontline electricity workers.

Further job losses may also be on the cards because of Labor’s 100 per cent dividend demands.

Both Energex and Ergon have flagged plans for continued job cuts, while the newly amalgamated Energy Queensland is also looking to cut costs.

Opposition Treasurer Scott Emerson said Labor’s move to “fiddle the state’s books” had come at a huge cost to hundreds of Queenslanders.

“You can’t ramp up their debts, strip all their cash and raid all of the dividends and expect these energy businesses to grow,” Mr Emerson said.

“Labor’s electricity merger has failed to generate the savings promised and we’re instead seeing hard-working Queenslanders lose their jobs.”

A spokesman for Treasurer Curtis Pitt told the Courier-Mail the Government had kept its commitment to no forced redundancies.

“The changes in employee numbers occurred through voluntary redundancies or natural attrition,” he said.