Concerns remain about the future of 182 jobs at Essential Energy after the state government would not guarantee that they were safe.
On July 3, 2019 Essential Energy announced at least 165 jobs would go from a range of locations, with Port Macquarie likely to bear the brunt of the losses.
That figure was later increased to 182 on July 4. At least 34 of those job cuts were slated to go from Port Macquarie.
On August 20, NSW energy minister Matt Kean announced he was issuing a directive to CEO John Cleland to halt the proposed job cuts.
It was revealed during a budget estimates hearing in September 2019 that Minister Kean had only issued a "draft directive" to Mr Cleland to halt the job cuts because it still had to go through "proper process".
Almost five months later deputy premier John Barilaro said the final directive regarding those job cuts still had not been issued.
Mr Barilaro would only say that "Essential Energy is complying with the terms of the draft direction by halting the proposed workforce reductions".
Crucially, he would not guarantee those jobs beyond the draft directive.
"The NSW government is working closely with Essential Energy to ensure the terms of the final direction deliver the best outcomes for all its regional staff," Mr Barilaro said.
Mr Barilaro would not say how long the draft directive would remain in place.
A spokesperson for Essential Energy said it was "operating in accordance" with the requirements laid out in the government's directive.
"No further redundancies [are] planned while the direction remains in place," the spokesperson said.
NSW Labor opposition leader Jodi McKay has seized on the comments.
"John Barilaro talks a big game but he has not actually issued any formal directive to save these jobs," Ms McKay said.
"Essential Energy is 100 per cent owned by the Liberal-National government and it is in their complete control to stop these cuts.
"He promised no regional or rural jobs would go but has also refused to rule it out in 2020, so which is it?" Ms McKay asked.
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