ANXIOUS WAIT: Local workers are sweating over whether the State Government will close the Stanthorpe Ergon Energy depot.
ANXIOUS WAIT: Local workers are sweating over whether the State Government will close the Stanthorpe Ergon Energy depot. Ella Archibald-Binge

ETU urges government to consider the regions

AS THE Queensland Government considers closing Stanthorpe's Ergon Energy depot, the Electrical Trades Union has warned it would not be the first regional office forced to shut its doors.

ETU state secretary Peter Simpson said depot closures in other parts of the country had shaken regional communities.

"This is not unprecedented," Mr Simpson said.

"Small depots have previously been closed in Victoria and South Australia.

"We know from experiences elsewhere the outsourcing of assets and the closure of depots will have a negative knock-on effect for regional communities."

A report to the Newman Government by an Independent Review Panel recommends Queensland should follow in the footsteps of Victoria, which has closed smaller depots in favour of a new model designed to "improve efficiency and innovation".

The State Government has given in-principle support to the recommendation, upsetting the ETU and leaving regional Ergon workers anxious.

Mr Simpson has called on the government to abandon its "relentless attack on regional and remote Queensland".

"(The government's) in-principle support for recommendation 23, which proposes the closure of regional and remote depots within the scope of 8-15 employees, and the outsourcing of jobs, will have a huge impact on some major regional towns," Mr Simpson said.

"The National Party, for all its flaws, used to profess it represented the interests of regional and remote Queenslanders.

"Since the merge over to the Brisbane-centric LNP, they have abandoned the bush - when will they stand up and be counted?"

The State Government is yet to make a final ruling, but Mr Simpson said the ETU expected the government to move quickly.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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