12 March 2024

ETU calls on Queensland government to fix Powerlink’s staffing mess

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) calls on the Queensland government to create a plan for job opportunities for Queenslanders and Australian workers to carry out the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan (QEJP).

“The QEJP should provide plenty of opportunities for local workers, and the government has announced that it will. But we are not seeing any plan around where those jobs are coming from,” says ETU Assistant State Secretary Stuart Traill.

The ETU has heard Powerlink Queensland cancelled its interim Townsville SuperGrid Training Centre and Transmission Hub launch event due to a planned Day of Action for union members in the state.

This reaction is just another move from Powerlink to evade the ETU and ignore ongoing staffing issues at the company. The ETU has been attempting to engage with Powerlink for some time with solutions to the ongoing recruitment, training, and retention of workers.

“Powerlink has no strategic plan for the future,” says ETU Assistant State Secretary Stuart Traill. “At this time, I have no confidence that Powerlink will be able to carry out its role in the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan (QEJP). It’s time for the Queensland government to step in and fix this mess.

“Powerlink has a vital role in delivering the QEJP, and we have made countless attempts to engage with them. The ETU has ideas for solutions to the staffing issues faced by Powerlink, and the company refuses to listen, instead choosing to bury heads in the sand. Time is quickly running out.

“Thousands of kilometres of transmission lines will need to be built. Thousands of extra workers will be needed to complete that work. Yet Powerlink has no plans to attract, train, nor retain those workers.”

Without a continuous pipeline of work, Powerlink has been hesitant to hire apprentices, which, if continued, will lead to a skills shortage in the company in the near future. Instead of engaging apprentices or hiring local workers, Powerlink has turned its focus to translating training documents for skilled migrant workers from non-English speaking countries.

“Powerlink is a Queensland company owned by Queenslanders, and its not even attempting to hire local workers. Powerlink has put recruiting locally and taking on apprentices who will be the future of our workforce into the too hard basket and instead plans to fix all their issues with migrant workers,” says Mr Traill.

“This is a publicly owned company, it’s time for the Queensland government to step up and sort out this mess. If Powerlink doesn’t create a plan to address these significant staffing issues, Queenslanders will suffer. The government needs to step in now.”

For more, please call Stuart Traill on 0488 225 625 or Kristin Perissinotto on 0448 633 858.