Gympie region sparkies ‘abandoned’ says Perrett
GYMPIE tradies have been abandoned by the Katter Australia Party and will be made to pay the price for the State Labor Government’s financial incompetence, Gympie MP Tony Perrett says.
Mr Perrett says the “damaging” budget decision to merge Ergon and Energex signalled the death knell for many small, family owned electrical business.
“The merger is a slap in the face to regional tradies, their businesses and the jobs they provide,” Mr Perrett said.
“The new $24 billion mega energy company will create a new energy services business which will directly compete against mum and dad contractors throughout regional areas.
“This was only achieved with the support of the Katter Party MPs who again have aided and abetted the Government and have abandoned hardworking small business operators.”
“They swung in behind Labor’s and ETU’s energy merger which will kill jobs in the process.
“The KAP are opportunistic supporters of this union-run Government and their hypocrisy on being a champion for the little man has been revealed.
“Electricians are already being laid off as a direct result of this merger with regional electrical company Geiger Electrical announcing it has been forced to sack 45 electricians - a third of its workforce.
“The State Labor Minister refused to meet with owners of the business to discuss job losses despite repeated requests.
“KAP and the ALP have hung our ‘sparkies’, their families and businesses out to dry,” he said.
Speaking in Parliament last week Mr Perrett said the merger would put the government in direct competition with more than 10,000 licensed electricians and about 1200 registered solar installers.
“This merger is a make-work scheme dreamt up with the ETU in an effort to minimise redundancies from the merged business,” Mr Perrett said.
“Instead our local tradies will be the ones with their backs to the wall.
“I have been contacted by local ‘sparkies’ who are fearful of their ability to find work and compete against government backed contractors.
“They are very aware that the new business will have access to and be supported by a ready-made database of consumers that will be able to provide financial payment options for consumers, and can borrow money or sustain losses in order to squeeze out competitors.
“They are fearful that the Government could direct all government departments to use this government-owned, taxpayer funded mega company putting hundreds of small business and families at financial risk.
“The very same body which competes against them – Ergon – is the authority that approves connections of solar panels and better systems.
“This means that private contractors will be regulated by their competitor.
“The KAP and Labor Government have jumped to the attention of the ETU but couldn’t care less about the damage this will cause our local ‘sparkies’,” he said.