Laws passed for merger between Energex and Ergon to become Energy Queensland
Energex and Ergon will become a $24 billion company called Energy Queensland after State Parliament passed laws last night allowing them to merge.
The new company will be based in Townsville in the state's north.
The laws were passed Wednesday night with Katter's Australian Party MPs Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter and Cook independent Billy Gordon siding with the Government.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey said Energy Queensland would deliver greater efficiency for taxpayers.
"This merger will remove duplication in areas like administration, shared services, boards, management, and corporate costs," he said
"The merger is an important part of the Government's debt action plan, with efficiencies achieved through this process to be used to reduce Government debt.
"Making the businesses more efficient will release funds to invest in better services for all Queenslanders."
Mr Bailey said Energy Queensland would create a larger, more diverse business.
"Work practices will benefit from the combined experience and expertise of both companies," he said.
"It will continue to deliver high levels of safety, reliability and product excellence."
The merger will also create a new energy services business for emerging technologies and meeting customer needs in the changing energy industry.
Merge to hurt electrical contractors
Master Electricians Australia (MEA) claim the new services business will hurt small electrical contractors.
There are 10,000 electrical contractors operating in Queensland, employing up to 50,000 workers.
MEA Chief Executive Malcolm Richards said the merged entity of Energy Queensland was no concern.
"But the new separate energy services business that is also set up under the law change will compete against existing contractors," he said.
"It's remarkable the Treasurer is pumping $100 million into regional businesses to employ people while at the same time undertaking a deliberate strategy to compete directly with regional electrical contractors.
"I believe every dollar gained from this energy services subdivision will be a dollar taken from the pockets of regional businesses."
Shadow Treasurer Scott Emerson said the Government has made a grubby deal with the Electrical Trades Union.
"What this is about is a promise that there'll be no redundancies from the mergers," Mr Emerson said.
"Instead what they've done is move these staff into a private energy provider that will compete against many mum and dad sparky businesses out there."
But Mr Bailey said Energy Queensland would not be entering into markets that are already well serviced.
"The focus will be on new markets and new opportunities, not on ones already established," he said.
The Government expects the merger will save $680 million by 2019-20 and increase jobs in north Queensland.
Source: ABC News