Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (13:49): Today I honour Richard Powis, former Integral Energy CEO; someone well regarded within our nation’s energy sector. Former teacher, trained economist, Richard held roles at TransGrid, and was deeply involved in the establishment of the National Electricity Market. He was appointed Integral Energy CEO in 2000 and, at a time when it was weighed down by doubt about its future, he restored its financial success, in part by fashioning an ethical culture within the corporation. He spearheaded efforts to improve the ageing electricity network in Western Sydney and the Illawarra; he lifted safety standards; he gave young people opportunities through greater apprenticeship numbers; and he prepared Integral for greater competition.
I was humbled to work with him, admiring foremost his integrity, his sharp mind and lateral approach to conquering difficulty, his abiding commitment to the employees he felt responsible for and his determination that the residents and businesses of Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Illawarra and the Southern Highlands continually deserved better service.
Sure, he was tough and determined. But he was fixed with purpose, embracing those with a parallel sense of service. He never complained about the problems confronting him or the isolating nature of senior leadership. He levered off challenge to get things done. ‘This ain’t a job for the faint hearted,’ he’d usually say.
Richard left Integral Energy in early 2008, becoming CEO at superannuation group FuturePlus. Last year, at 60, Richard decided to spend more time with family and savour his passion for sailing. I was deeply saddened to learn that he passed away suddenly on Sunday. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family. Thank you for your service, Richard Powis.