Push for action on job crisis

ORANGE City Council will give the state and federal government until the end of February to come up with a solution for the pending jobs crisis before they step up efforts to fight harder for the 544 workers made redundant by Electrolux’s closure, according to mayor John Davis.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has distanced himself from the workers’ plight saying it’s a matter for the company not the federal government.

Member for Calare John Cobb expects representation from Mr Macfarlane or his colleagues in the next two months, but Cr Davis has a shorter timeframe in mind.

“I’m not making excuses for John Cobb, far from, but most firms and businesses if they’re not closed down have minimal staffing [during December and January],” he said. “We’re suggesting February will be the month of announcements and proposals from the state and federal government in partnership or as individuals.

“If there’s not some sort of results by the end of February we’ll have to look and say ‘what is going on?’... we’ll sit down and say this is not acceptable.”

Cr Davis said the council would work with Mr Cobb and Member for Orange Andrew Gee, but the biggest push would be for action from the federal government.

“The biggest focus will be getting everything right and putting up a package and we will certainly be part of supporting it as a council and coming up with ideas,” he said.

Cr Davis said council would use the examples of the government’s response to other factory closures including Holden to campaign for Orange.

“The community and the tax payers will be saying ‘why are we different?’,” he said.

He hopes the three tiers of government can work together to come up with projects to help Orange for the next five to 10 years and sees potential in growing the health, agriculture and mining industries and potential jobs as a result of the airport expansion.

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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