Concerns over possible sale of assets

Bob Hammill, Sale


EXXONMOBIL’S announcement that all Gippsland Basin assets are up for sale has drawn comments from a number of representatives.

Committee for Gippsland chief executive Jane Oakley suggests we “don’t get too worked up about this news” and accept change as a positive thing.

It all sounds wonderful, but make no mistake, this is a “get out while the going’s good” sale and it’s nothing like the sale of a normal business.

This is a business which has the potential to cause great environmental damage.

A change of ownership will always be a ‘gamble’ for the people of Gippsland.

The rigs are ageing assets, and in any business where maintenance costs are having a real impact on profits, the easiest way to reverse that trend is to reduce maintenance and accept more risks.

The sale of Bass Strait assets could attract a company prepared to take those risks.

As such, representatives need to be vigilant, astute and prepared.

If they are too trusting and too naive, we could all pay a very high price.

Personally, I think unions and employees have every right to be concerned.

Like it or not, with this sale we’re all part of the ‘gamble’ and we’re not playing with 10 dollar chips.

We’re in the biggest casino with the biggest high rollers and we could find someone at the table is prepared to put our waterways, our beaches and hundreds of jobs on the table.

For Jane Oakley, I’ll calm down when I’m confident all representatives are up to the challenge – but personally I’m not there yet.