10/06/2008 - 14:06

Huge cutbacks from gas drama: CCIWA

10/06/2008 - 14:06

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The Varanus Island gas plant explosion is having a big impact on the WA economy with 14 per cent of the respondents to an industry survey saying they will have to shut down, while 64 per cent expect a production decline.

The Varanus Island gas plant explosion is having a big impact on the WA economy with 14 per cent of the respondents to an industry survey saying they will have to shut down, while 64 per cent expect a production decline.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia said a worrying trend to emerge from its research was the number of local companies have been forced to scale back operations and stand down staff.

The survey results are the first to emerge from a large study of members regarding the gas outage and have been given to the State Government to highlight the severity of the challenge.

CCIWA is represented on a crisis committee put together by the state government to deal with the gas issues and which is chaired by Jason Banks from the Office of Energy. Others on the committee, which meets daily at this stage, are representatives from Premier and Cabinet, the Energy Minister's office, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy, Western Power, Syndergy, Verve, Alinta and the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline.

Of the 83 respondents to the CCIWA survey, just over half (55 per cent) indicated their business will be directly or indirectly impacted by the gas outage, with the average decline in production 64 per cent. In addition 14 per cent of companies reported they have shut down or will be shutting down completely.

A spokeman for CCIWA said the survey sought responses from a sample including all business sizes, but it was mainly medium to large business in the 83 respondents - which was a reasonable size sample given the quick turnaround required.

He said businesses affected included chemical manufacturers for the mining industry and road making input suppliers.

CCIWA was going back to its respondents for more information but in general business was looking to employees to use annual leave or other entitlements to alleviate the cost of the crisis.

"I am not aware of any workers being sacked at this stage," the spokesman said, adding that he was not aware of any businesses that faced permanent closure as a result of the crisis.

The survey also revealed that:

  • Over one quarter of all respondents have been directly impacted by the gas outage, while a further 27 per cent have been indirectly affected.
  • 16 per cent of respondents have indicated they have the ability to shift production to evenings, while a further nine per cent could shift capacity to weekends.

Meanwhile, CCI is working collaboratively with the State Government, energy suppliers, customers, and industry groups to maximise the state's energy supplies and develop practical ways forward to minimise the impact on business and households.

To assist business and industry it is important that all Western Australians do their best to conserve energy. Everyone has an important role in ensuring the doors of industry remain open and the wheels of commerce keep turning. The more households and industry can do to conserve gas and electricity the greater the opportunity to protect jobs.

CCI looks to the State Government to provide leadership to manage the outage and develop practical ways forward.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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