Department head to meet with Geiger over closure fears

UPDATE: Energy Minister Mark Bailey has pledged to follow up on Geiger Group after it was revealed the company may end operations.

Following a direction from Mr Bailey, the Department of Energy and Water Supply has contacted Geiger to set up a meeting with Acting Director General Ben Barr and is currently waiting on confirmation from the company.

EARLIER: A regional Queensland electrical company that fears for its future has not been able to meet with the Queensland Energy Minister despite repeated requests.

Toowoomba company Geiger Group fears it will have to end operations in Toowoomba, Rockhampton and Hervey Bay after losing work with Ergon.

Geiger managing director Anton Griffiths made repeated requests for meetings with Energy Minister Mark Bailey between May 24 and June 7.

Toowoomba North LNP MP Trevor Watts said Mr Bailey failed to meet with Geiger despite government ministers meeting with Electrical Trade Union representatives 21 times.

In an email sent to Mr Bailey on May 24, Mr Griffiths said he feared the company would have to fire 150 people across Queensland.

"In recent months we have experienced significant reductions in work volume as well as margin from Ergon and now it looks like work will be completely dried up within the next four weeks," he said.

"Our depots in Townsville, Hervey Bay, Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Toowoomba will also be forced to close. At this point in time we aren't in a position to absorb redundancy costs, creditor costs etc which is of utmost concern to us, bearing in mind the effect this will have on our staff, their families and the direct knock-on effect in the community."

Mr Bailey's executive assistant said a request for a meeting would be sent to the minister. Later, Mr Griffiths was told advice had been sought from the energy department director-general.

But by June 7, Mr Griffiths had not received a response.

Mr Watts tabled the emails in parliament on Thursday and asked Mr Bailey why he had not met with Mr Griffiths.

"Given government ministers have held over 21 meetings with the ETU, why hasn't the Minister for Energy met with the Geiger Group, an electrical contractor based in Toowoomba, despite their urgent requests for a meeting to discuss the future of 150 Queensland jobs?" he asked.

Mr Bailey said he received requests to meet with stakeholders every day, but promised to look into Mr Griffiths' request.

"It is not possible to meet every person who wants to meet a minister on every issue. That said, I can give the honourable member assurance I will look into this matter personally and to look into the detail of the request," he said. - ARM NEWSDESK


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