Economy, jobs & skills

Job losses at Western Power have already begun, as is pointed out in this ABC news report.  As an academic expert on electricity, privatisation, Lynne Chester of the University of Sydney, has noted recently: "The evidence does not show job losses automatically follow a privatisation. Instead, significant labour shedding occurs prior to sale, while still in government ownership."

Hold on, no job losses? The sting is in the detail, as an The Australia Institute note, since electricity privatisation over east there has been a rapid increase in the employment of salespeople while there has also been a fall in productivity and one explanation for this is a, quote:

dramatic fall in output per worker is the rapid increase in staff numbers in occupations that do not have a direct role in actually generating electricity. For example, the number of managers in the sector has grown from 6,000 to 19,000 from 1997 to 2012, a rise of 217 per cent [emphasis added, The Australia Institute, 2013].

In another study comparing the workforce of publicly and privately owned electricity corporations, Dr Phillip Toner found that on average publicly owned electricity corporations employed 65 new apprentices annually compared with only 22 in privately owned electricity companies.  

Finally, if you are suspicious of these sources, then try this quote on for size, from a guy called Colin Barnett:

The reason that you would retain the energy utilities in government hands is the energy utilities are the major engines of economic growth in this State and only through ownership of utilities can you guarantee supply and reliability of supply.

Of course that was in 2013, before the last election.