GREENS MLC Jeremy Buckingham has lashed out at Prime Minister Tony Abbott and NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s lack of action over the upcoming closure of the Orange Electrolux factory.
Mr Buckingham, who is also the Greens regional development spokesperson, said it was “absolutely pathetic” the heads of government had not made plans to visit Orange and “discuss this disaster”.
“This is a catastrophic blow to the economy and the social fabric of Orange. The people of Orange deserve a whole-of-government response,” he said.
Mr Buckingham said it was time the government worked with Orange City Council and other stakeholders to devise ways to stimulate economic development.
“Look at how the leaders have failed to respond to this issue in comparison to other manufacturing closures like Ford in Geelong and Holden in Adelaide,” he said.
This morning, member for Orange Andrew Gee was due to meet with federal member for Calare John Cobb, Orange mayor John Davis, Orange City Council general manager Garry Styles and a representative from the NSW Department of Trade and Investment to discuss the situation.
“There are two issues we need to discuss,” Mr Gee said.
“Firstly, what can be done to find new jobs in Orange for workers at Electrolux once the plant closes and, secondly, how we go about securing new investment and jobs for Orange in order to claw back some of those we’re going to lose in a couple of years.
“We have taken a blow to be sure, but the task now is to get back on our feet and keep the economy of Orange growing.
“We still have a strong and diverse economy. We have a lot to offer new businesses and we will get through this.
“Terrible though this news has been, we can’t afford to wallow. We need to keep moving and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
Yesterday Mr Gee called on Electrolux’s Swedish board to prepare an assistance and re-training program for its workers.
“I have faith that the Australian management team at Electrolux will do all they can,” he said.
“They are as gutted about the decision as everyone else, but we need to hear from the people in Sweden who are responsible for this.”