THE details of a state government rescue package for the Orange Electrolux plant won’t be made public until the company’s Swedish board accepts the offer, according to member for Orange Andrew Gee.
Mr Gee made the announcement on Friday, saying the amount of money exceeded his expectations, but he could not reveal the figure or the conditions of the deal because of confidentiality conditions imposed by higher ranks in the state government.
The plant has been seeking a payroll tax break worth $3 million from the state government to top up $40,000 given earlier in the year to fund a three-month engineering study to improve the plant’s productivity.
Mr Gee could not say if the rescue package was in the form of a tax break, but did refer to the country’s onerous tax structure when announcing the assistance.
“We’ve taken it to the max ... I can’t give you any more details than that because I’m not allowed to,” he said.
“The NSW government stipulated that confidentiality was imposed ... they’re just conditions I’ve got to work with whether I agree with them or not.”
Electrolux corporate communications consultant Craig McCarthy welcomed the announcement, but said the company had not been formally advised of the funds or how much was on offer.
“If it is forthcoming, Electrolux is very grateful whatever it is,” he said.
Mr Gee defended the decision to make the announcement despite only scarce details being available, saying it was intended as a morale boost for the plant’s workers and community and reassurance the state government was doing all it could.
The plant is working to convince its head office to invest in Orange and keep the refrigeration plant open.
Earlier in the month the plant manager Mark O’Kane said a decision was expected at the December board meeting.
Mr Gee hit back at critics of government supporting private companies saying it was “right and proper” for the state government to help Electrolux.
“Electolux is not in the same position as the car industry, it’s making a profit,” he said.
“If the state government can provide incentives for a Bollywood rap artist to perform in Sydney ... it’s only fair we can provide assistance to regional jobs.”
The plant will receive $4.7 million in funds allocated by the former federal government if it stays in Orange, but also asked for an extra $41 million in August.
Mr McCarthy said Electrolux had started talking to the newly-elected federal government and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.
Orange City Council pledged $1.1 million to the plant over 10 years provided it kept its 550 strong workforce.