ORANGE City Council is leading the way when it comes to stimulus for retrenched Electrolux workers, with the state and federal governments yet to reveal how they will chip in.
Orange mayor John Davis will ask councillors on Tuesday to vote in favour of a plan to put $110,000 a year over 10 years, which was pledged to Electrolux in July, into a jobs-for-Orange fund.
The money could be used to encourage businesses to put more staff on, or as an incentive for businesses to relocate, but also to encourage the state and federal governments to come forward with a stimulus package for the area, he said.
“We want a result out of the federal and state governments, whether it be in the way of new jobs or projects,” Cr Davis said.
“I do believe that we will get a positive result out of the federal government and indeed the state government.”
In a bid to convince the Electrolux board in Sweden to keep the Orange plant open, council offered to waive rates, resulting in a $110,000 annual windfall for the company.
Councillors have put in a rescission motion on the offer.
Member for Calare John Cobb said the government was not ruling out any stimulus packages at this stage, but the solution needed to be a whole-of-region solution, not just Orange, with job cuts occurring throughout the central west recently.
He said the government was concentrating on packages that would involve helping “entrepreneurial” people set up new businesses to employ those who were out of work.
“For example, if we’ve got someone out there who wants to set up a mine, then I’ll say to Ian [Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane] we’ve got this great idea here, how can we help?” he said.
“That way it can employ people from Bathurst and Orange.”
Mr Cobb said it would be easier to replace the food manufacturer Simplot than whitegoods manufacturer Electrolux, but that kind of thinking was limiting the scope.
“We’ve got a lot of skilled workers coming out of these places who can get work in a range of areas, not just whitegoods,” he said.
Mr Cobb and Mr Davis both said they were convinced Orange was the best-placed regional city to deal with job losses on this scale.
Mr Cobb said it was too early to announce specific funding details and was glad workers had up to two years before redundancies became apparent.
Member for Orange Andrew Gee said in a statement he would meet with representatives from the Department of Premier and Cabinet on Monday to discuss formulating a plan for Orange.
He said employees of the NSW Department of Trade and Investment met with Electrolux employees on Thursday to get an initial idea of where Electrolux was headed with its own transitional program.