Wednesday 15h April
Documents obtained this week Under Right of Information reveal that the Tasmanian State Government has deceived Entura staff and the Tasmanian public over a period of over 15 months about both the reasons for, and the nature of, the sale of the key Entura division of Hydro Tasmania to the Chinese Government owned China Power.
It is now clear that the State Government had not only directed Hydro Tasmanian to “fully divest” itself of Entura, and the Tamar Valley power station in January of 2015, but had threatened the transfer of equity of 120 million dollars if Hydro did not comply. The papers receive also make it crystal clear that the government’s and Hydro’s intention was the full divestment, in the form of a sale, of Entura (and the Tamar Valley Power Station), facts they have fervently denied through the media.
Entura members are also deeply upset that after 11 years of successful trading, and the generation of tens of millions of dollars in profit for Hydro and the state, the Senate hearing was told yesterday by Minister Groom that the sale was due to the government opinion that “Entura was not sustainable in its current business model”
This assumption is wildly incorrect and shows a lack of understanding of the business, Entura is a profitable asset for the people of Tasmania, for Hydro and for the State Government. In its 11 years of operation as a separate branch of Hydro it has generated profit in 9 of its 11 years with this year also well on track for profit of well over a million dollars. The Entura staff are an integral part of the work to alleviate the current Energy Crisis. The organisation brings tens of millions of dollars into the state each year from national and international sources as well as showcasing Tasmania’s expertise on the international stage. Entura is also one of the single biggest repositories of expert knowledge and skills on renewable energy in Australia. To lose control of the Entura brand and the skills of the staff will be a devastating loss to the state and would be disastrous in the event of another Energy Crisis.
Entura staff are also deeply disappointed in light of the government’s comments about its operations, particularly since Hydro Tasmania has repeatedly ignored staff calls for a benchmarking review of Entura’s operations to maximise competitiveness and efficiency.
Professionals Australia calls on the government and the Energy Minister to come clean with the employees in the electricity industry and the Tasmanian people and explain why it insisted Hydro sell a profitable business and why it has repeatedly stated it did not order the sale of Entura when its own correspondence clearly shows that it did.
Comment: Luke Crowley.
Director, Professionals Australia (Tasmania Branch).
Phone: 0423 024 248