500 electrical businesses and thousands of jobs at risk in Katter Party seats

Master Electricians Australia RSS Feed

26 May 2016

Master Electricians Australia today warned Katter Party MPs that they would put at risk at least 500 small businesses and thousands of jobs if they approved legislation to allow the Queensland Government to enter the electrical contracting market.

MEA Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Richards said electricians were counting on the Katter Party and other cross-bench MPs to prevent regional small businesses from being crushed by the merged Ergon and Energex moving into an area that was already well serviced by the private sector.

“Based on our membership and public records, we believe there are between 500 and 600 electrical businesses within the Mt Isa and Dalrymple State Electorates,” Mr Richards said.

“That’s five to six hundred businesses, their workers and their families who will be put at risk if this legislation is allowed through the Parliament.

“We ask the Katter Party MPs to think about the future of those small businesses, and the impact on them of having to compete head to head with the Government.

“At a time when dairy farmers are feeling the strain of tough market conditions, we urge the Katter Party not to create a whole new crisis in a different rural industry.

“We’ve always said this is akin to the Government funding Woolworths or Coles to move in and smash the local corner store.  I would hope the Katter Party MPs will understand just how serious this situation is.”

Master Electricians has previously aired its concerns about the likely abuse of market power that would result from the State Government allowing the merged Ergon/Energex to be both a regulator and a competitor to small businesses.

“Ergon is the authority that approves connections of solar panels or battery systems for homes and businesses.  This is the bread and butter work for many small contractors in regional Queensland, and now these contractors will be forced to compete with their own regulator for business. 

“How can they have any confidence their applications will be treated confidentially or dealt with quickly by their competitors?  And is it fair that one player in the contracting market will hold all the marketing information on which houses already have solar and which ones don’t?”

Malcolm Richards is available for interview. Please phone SAS Group on 07 3221 9222.