Interstate contractors, consultants costing Territorians dearly


Sir – Wasteful spending on interstate consultants and contractors at the Territory’s power companies is an extravagance Territorians cannot afford.
ETU members are angry that frontline positions remain unfilled while Power Water Corporation (PWC) and Territory Generation (TGen) are increasing management positions and using more and more interstate consultants and contractors, costing Territorians millions of dollars.
We are also seeing more management positions with the appointment of FIFO managers from Tasmania, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney while both companies refuse to fill frontline vacancies.
Our members on the front line, the ones who restore the power and keep it working, demand answers and an independent review … looking into the relationships these consultants, contractors may have with senior management and the subsequent procurement practices.
Every dollar wasted puts upward pressure on power prices and reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of our power networks.
Our members have highlighted some examples including $700,000 paid to a contractor for cyclone recovery work that could have been done by direct employees far cheaper had frontline vacancies had been filled appropriately.
We have also been made aware of the increasing use of interstate consultants on bloated salaries including one Brisbane based IR consultant who was paid $2800 a day for a year and delivered nothing.
We have calculated that about $3.9m was spent on five interstate consultants that collectively delivered no outcomes or benefits. It is a scandalous waste of money.
David “Strawbs” Hayes
Electrical Trades Union NT organiser
[ED – We are inviting comment from the companies. Photo: ETU members in the Bangtail Muster parade in Alice Springs.]
UPDATE Saturday August 4, 4.50pm
Power Water Corporation provided the following response:-
The number of frontline staff in Power and Water’s Power Networks business has remained relatively stable over previous years. Going forward, Power and Water will continue to manage its workforce to meet its business requirements and works program.
Power and Water has adopted the Government’s Buy-Local policy and Value for the Territory policy through its procurement framework. Over 2017-18, 70% of procurement activities worth approximately $163 million went to Northern Territory enterprises.
Where specialist expertise is not available within the Territory, then yes from time-to-time Power and Water does have to source some goods and services from inter-state, which it does in strict accordance with its procurement framework.
Power and Water’s Executive Leadership team all live in Darwin either renting or have purchased their own homes. Power and Water does not operate on a FIFO basis.
Power and Water continues to actively manage its controllable operational costs in line with its approved Statement of Corporate Intent commitments and objectives, with a continuing focus on cost efficiency within an acceptable risk profile approved by the Board.



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