Snowy Hydro sale would cost 'hundreds of jobs'

The federal Labor Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly has joined forces with the unions to mount a scare campaign over the future of Snowy Hydro.

They are raising the spectre of mass sackings, the shutdown of the Cooma office, and higher electricity prices.

They claim this will be the result of any move to privatise the company.

Dr Kelly and representatives of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) staged a "meeting" outside Snowy Hydro's Cooma office on Monday to declare their support for public ownership.

They were joined by members of the ETU. However, the union members were employees of Essential Energy, with none identified as employees of Snowy Hydro.

In a joint media release Dr Kelly said he struggled to understand why the NSW government was so determined to sell Snowy Hydro and the electricity network when they provided so much for local communities. This included highly skilled jobs, irreplaceable training and apprentice training and money for local schools, hospitals and roads.

In the same media release the ETU Secretary Steve Butler claimed there would be job losses.

"A place like Cooma has a lot to lose should privatisation proceed because any likely buyer will already have a well established head office elsewhere, meaning they will simply shut down Snowy Hydro's local head office resulting in the loss of hundreds of skilled jobs," he said.

Addressing the meeting outside Snowy Hydro offices, he said the company could end up being owned by China.

Also addressing the meeting, Dr Kelly said he would fight to eliminate the threat of privatisation "to the last breath."

The Snowy Hydro shareholders were the federal government and the states of NSW and Victoria. Two out of three were controlled by the Liberal Party, and the possibility of a Liberal victory at the next federal election made privatisation more likely, he said.

-Snowy Hydro's response

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