ELECTRICAL Trades Union secretary Steve Butler says the closures of Electrolux in Orange and Simplot in Bathurst will have a devastating impact on the region.
Mr Butler said predicted job losses from upcoming closures in the region, including Cowra, had jumped to 800.
“It’s staggering that many jobs are disappearing from the area,” he said.
Mr Butler said millions of dollars would be lost from the region’s economy, with families forced to relocate to metropolitan areas to look for work.
“It will break hearts. This will drive people out of the area,” he said.
“In regional Australia, work’s gold, it’s not like in the city where there’s a bigger job market.
“There just aren’t that many jobs waiting for people to pick up.”
Mr Butler said the manufacturing sector was under pressure from global competition and the high Australian dollar, and all levels of government must do more.
“Private companies make these decision based on profit and their ability to compete. The simple fact is that Australian manufacturing can not compete with places like China, Malaysia and India, so we have to look at other ways to protect these jobs,” he said.
“Our government likes to talk about free trade deals with places like China and the United States, but what we need is fair trade where locally-made products can compete on price and where local jobs are viable and protected.
“I don’t believe things will change unless our government changes its approach to manufacturing in Australia.
“If this does not happen we will continue to bleed good quality jobs like those being lost in the central west.
“As representatives of the workforce, the ETC and other unions will obviously work closely with these companies to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved from what is a dire set of circumstances.
“Our primary concern will be to save as many jobs as possible, help find work for those who lose their jobs and make sure all entitlements are paid.”