8208.0 - Electricity, Gas, Water and Sewerage Industries, Australia, 1997-98  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/09/1999   
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  • Gas and electricity utilities profits up but employment down - ABS (Media Release)


September 30, 1999
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Gas and electricity utilities profits up but employment down - ABS

Profits in the gas supply industry increased by 23% to $1.1 billion in 1997-98, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

However employment in the industry has dropped by 35% since 1996-97 with much of the change due to restructuring as employees move to other industry sectors. Wages and salaries have also decreased by 45%.

The changes occurring with restructuring and privatisation in the gas supply industry has increased both income and expenditure in the industry as a whole. Net worth in the industry fell by 19% to $1.4 billion as the increase in liabilities exceeded the increase in assets.

Profits in the electricity industry increased by 3% in 1997-98, with trading profit increasing from $8.4 billion in 1996-97 to $8.7 billion.

At the same time, employment in the industry continued to fall and was down 5%, with 1,754 fewer employees than at 30 June 1997. This was mainly due to redundancies resulting from industry reform and privatisation. Wages and salaries also dropped nationally by 4% ($87 million).

A fall in electricity prices affected sales income in some States. New South Wales recorded a drop in sales of $513 million (8%) to $6.2 billion, while Victoria recorded a decrease of $233 million (4%) to $5.6 billion.

Net capital expenditure for the electricity industry in 1997-98 rose by 12% to $2.2 billion. Queensland was the main contributor to this, recording a $169 million increase due to expansion of the transmission network.

In contrast, the Australian water and sewerage industry employment remained relatively stable in 1997-98, with a decrease of only 0.1%. However, over the same period wages and salaries increased 7% (up $51 million to $772 million) while trading profit decreased by 1% to $3.5 billion. Sales were down slightly (0.2%) to $6.2 billion.

Net capital expenditure rose by 52% ($427 million) to $1.3 billion.

Other information in the compendium publication Electricity, Gas, Water and Sewerage Industries, Australia includes:
  • details on electricity generation and consumption,
  • gas production and sales, and
  • special articles on recent restructuring and reforms in the electricity, gas and water industries.

Further details are in Electricity, Gas, Water and Sewerage Industries, Australia (cat. no. 8208.0) available from ABS bookshops. A summary of the publication is available on this site. The ABS encourages media organisations with online news services to link to the summary. Please phone us if you need assistance to do this.