DEPUTY Prime Minister Warren Truss’s visit to the central west was nothing more than a talkfest but the time for talking is over, Central West Union Alliance officials said.
The visit to Bathurst on Tuesday was a political stunt, along with the proposal from member for Calare John Cobb to build a dam at Needles Gap, Alliance spokesperson Joe Maric said.
“To build a dam you need expert staff who will be fly-in-fly-out workers, it’s not going to help those Electrolux workers out of a job,” he said.
“We’re not being represented by anyone ... Bill Shorten and John Robertson need to get off holidays and come and stand up for the central west.”
“The clock is ticking and in 30 months up to 1100 people in Calare will be out of a job and there is no stimulus package on offer, there is no concrete plan for how to generate jobs and there are no viable options on the table for redundant workers,” Mr Maric said.
“Giving them TAFE courses is all well and good but without the jobs to go to, the retraining will be a bit useless,” he said.
“They’ll all be taking up jobs that are offered outside the community and that will have a significant impact on the economy.”
On Tuesday Mr Truss denied that workers at the two interstate Holden plants got special treatment, Mr Truss said the promise of a $100 million package for workers seven days after news of the Holden plant closures broke was only a broad announcement, building on work already done.
Community alliance member Bernard Fitzsimon rejected the statement and said Holden and Electrolux had both been hinting of closures for at least eight months before the official announcement and there should have been a contingency plan in the works.
“Even a broadsheet statement ... workers need something, some reassurance that there is going be something for them,” Mr Fitzsimon said.
Mr Maric said there were a range of options open to the government to ease the pressure of the looming jobs crisis on the region such as a poker machine tax exemption which would allow hospitality industry proprietors funding to put on more staff and all three tiers of government should only be allowed to tender jobs to people from the region.
But ultimately, he said governments needs to stop stalling and come out and tell the community whether or not it will be given a stimulus package.
Member for Calare John Cobb and member for Orange Andrew Gee declined to be interviewed. Mr Gee provided a statement that said he was not interested in “petty point scoring” and the state government was doing its part.