ABOUT 350 jobs in Orange are created every year so ensuring every worker at Electrolux is employed once the doors close in 2016 is a “hell of a challenge” but it is a realistic goal, says mayor John Davis.
Cr Davis, member for Orange Andrew Gee and Electrolux Orange general manager Mark O’Kane launched the $20,000 Central West Jobs Expo at the factory yesterday.
The state government, the federal government, Electrolux and Orange City Council are contributing $5000 each to the expo, which will be held on March 21 and is open to all businesses in Orange and the public.
Cr Davis said at least 30 businesses, at no cost to them, had signed on to exhibit at the expo and called on more to express an interest.
He said with a natural creation of 350 jobs per year in Orange, with help, every one of the 500 employees at Electrolux, facing redundancy, could be employed.
“It’s going to be a challenge but if you are going to lose your job ... it’s better to be in Orange than in the western suburbs of Adelaide or the western suburbs of Sydney.”
“It’s going to be a challenge but if you are going to lose your job ... it’s better to be in Orange than in the western suburbs of Adelaide or the western suburbs of Sydney"
After Holden, Ford and Toyota bosses announced they would cease production in Australia, days later economies surrounding the car manufacturers’ factories were told by both state and federal governments they would receive millions of dollars in the form of a stimulus package.
The central west is facing 1400 job losses in the next two years and no stimulus package has been offered.
Mr Gee was asked how he felt about Orange missing out.
“We can only do what a government department can do ... there is no point in finger pointing,” he said.
Cr Davis said “a bundle of money” would not fix the problem in the long term.
Mr O’Kane said most Electrolux employees had only had one job interview and jobs in manufacturing in Orange were limited but the company would support them in finding jobs in other sectors.
“The skills and knowledge [employees have] while immense in the plant, are limited outside the plant,” he said.
“We can’t underestimate this task, we have to continue building refrigerators until the end of next year ... but we have time and we will have to make good of this time.”