Executives at publicly-owned electricity network operator Ausgrid received almost $3.5 million, including bonuses of up to $71,500, at the same time they claimed challenging financial conditions left them with no choice but to axe 553 jobs and reduce services for Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast and Hunter customers.
The company’s annual report, quietly released this month, also revealed that after tax profits for the last financial year were $420.1 million, while the company paid a total of $589.7 million to the NSW Government.
In addition to superannuation and other benefits, Ausgrid chief operating officer Trevor Armstrong’s wage and bonuses totalled $547,717, while fellow executive John Hardwick was paid $502,256. In total, executives at the company received almost $3.5 million, with base wages of $3,036,834 along with $443,222 in bonuses.
The Electrical Trades Union slammed the culture of executive greed, saying it was extraordinary that at the same time apprentice programs were being axed and more than 550 jobs cut, management were pocketing huge salaries and annual bonuses that were larger than many employees’ total salaries.
“Ausgrid is meant to be a publicly owned company delivering an essential service to millions of people in Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, the Central Coast, and much of Sydney,” ETU secretary Steve Butler said.
“Instead, it is being run as a profit-making machine, with the NSW Government gouging $589.7 million from the electricity bills of homeowners and small businesses, while senior management take home huge salaries and massive bonuses.
“The community was told Ausgrid had no choice but to slash jobs and services because of the financial challenges it faced, yet now we see that those cuts were only necessary because the Baird Government and the individual executives have been lining their pockets.
“What is even more disturbing is that this executive management team and their actions have been supported whole-heartedly by the NSW Government, including local Liberal and National Party MPs.
“These are the actions of a company and executive team that are totally out of touch with the communities they are meant to serve, and quite frankly completely out of touch with the expectations of voters about how publicly-owned utilities should behave.”