18/06/2008 - 15:11

Gas drama forces cutbacks: CCIWA

18/06/2008 - 15:11


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A new survey by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA has highlighted the need for the public to cut back on its energy use for the sake of the economy.

Gas drama forces cutbacks: CCIWA

A new survey by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA has highlighted the need for the public to cut back on its energy use for the sake of the economy.

CCIWA conducted the comprehensive survey of its members in recent days amid growing concerns about how energy shortages are impacting on the state economy.

The survey results confirm CCI's fears that the loss of up to one third of the state's gas supply is hurting a large number of businesses and industries, their employees and WA's economic performance.

Of the 301 respondents to the survey, almost half have been directly or indirectly affected by the gas outage, with production down by nearly one third (30 per cent) on average across all industry sectors. 11 companies have shut down completely while a further 16 have scaled back their operations by more than half.

Businesses have told CCI they are concerned that the longer it takes to restore gas supplies from Varanus Island, the greater the impact will be on their operations, their employees and the economy.

More than one third of respondents said their businesses will be adversely affected if the outage lasts for one month. However if the situation isn't rectified within three months nearly half of all respondents expect to be negatively affected.

Nearly one quarter of businesses believe they will be forced to shut down if the outage remains for a year.

The survey has also revealed that industry has responded to the gas outage in a variety of ways to keep their doors open and minimise the impact on their bottom lines.

A large number of companies have already scaled back or ceased production and staff have been stood down.

Almost 630 employees have or may have to be stood down or made redundant, accounting for nearly one per cent of the total workforce of businesses surveyed.

The survey also revealed that;

 Reducing working hours is the most common method used by affected companies to deal with the gas outage.

 18 per cent of respondents favour redeployment.

 Nearly 15 per cent of businesses are relying on staff taking voluntary leave, while a further 12 per cent are forcing their staff to take leave entitlements.

 One in ten companies have stood down staff, and two per cent have made redundancies.

CCI is playing a lead role in assisting and representing industry in the wake of the loss of gas supply from Varanus Island.

The Chamber is keeping the State Government, energy suppliers and other key stakeholders informed about how the gas outage is affecting industry. CCI is working hard to ensure that the interests of companies across the state are taken into account in the response to the outage.

To assist business and industry it is important that all Western Australians do their best to conserve energy.

Whatever energy can be conserved could help save business, save jobs and minimise the impact on the economy.

More than one third of businesses surveyed said they have the capacity to cut energy use, estimating savings of up to 16 per cent can be achieved. 30 per cent of respondents have indicated they have the ability to shift production to evenings and weekends.

It is critically important the whole community limits energy usage to essential demand.



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