By ERWIN CHLANDA
A proposal to run the new $75m power station at Owen Springs remotely from Darwin has come under fire from Town Councillor Steve Brown.
Territory Generation (TG), which is 100% NT Government owned, is tight lipped about reports that there will be massive job losses in Alice Springs.
When we put questions to TG last week it replied: “The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and TG participated in a conference before the Fair Work Commission and agreed to have further discussions on the issue.
“The Fair Work Commission has requested the matter now remain private between the two parties and to this end, TG will not make any further public comment about this process.”
Cr Brown (pictured), who says he understands that 30 to 60 Alice Springs people may lose their jobs if the control systems are moved north, calls TG’s claim an outrage: “There is another party to this issue and that is damn well the community of Alice Springs.
“This is a government owned business which has responsibility to the community, not just some private firm moving jobs from our town to the capital,” says Cr Brown who is an electrical contractor.
“They are silencing the workers and trying to sneak jobs out of town without telling us. Are they trying to turn Alice Springs into a Fly-in, Fly-out camp?”
TG and the ETU (pictured at top during the Bangtail Muster parade) met in Darwin on Saturday. No information has been available.
The closure of the old Ron Goodin power station in the middle of the town is now imminent and has been planned for many years, largely because of its noise affecting the near-by up-market Golf Course Estate and the Hidden Valley town camp.
However, while some job losses were expected with the closure of the Ron Goodin plant, the proposal of remotely controlling the new installation at Brewer Estate is coming as a surprise for many.
PHOTO below: The noisy Ron Goodin power station in close vicinity of the Golf Course Estate.
UPDATE 7pm May 16:
The following statement was emailed to the Alice Springs News Online this afternoon. We had given the right of reply to Territory Generation ahead of publication of this story, as reported above.
Important information to Editors from Territory Generation CEO.
Media reports in the past 24 hours in Alice Springs include a number of incorrect statements regarding the move to the Owen Springs Power Station.
To ensure accuracy, Territory Generation released a media statement on 28 April 2017, and wishes to assure the community that no-one is being sacked from the Ron Goodin Power Station (RGPS). Territory Generation has been actively working to transition to the new power station at Owen Springs, for a safer and more reliable power supply for the Alice Springs community; and where the aim is to employ as many RGPS employees as possible.
There have never been any plans for “FIFO” workers; and the only “control” from Darwin is the modern Remote Operations Centre “centralised” monitoring approach which ultimately includes all of our power stations across the Territory.
This is industry best-practice approach, having been deployed in other jurisdictions for well over 30 years. This has also been a well-known component of our Transformation Project for some 18 months.
There has been no public commentary from Territory Generation since 28 April 2017 due to the fact we are currently in dispute with the Electrical Trades Union and are continuing further discussions.
Until now, the Fair Work Commission has requested the matter remained private between the two parties and to this end, T-Gen will not make any further public comment about this until the process is complete.
By ERWIN CHLANDA