Gee works to extend tax incentive

EMPLOYERS who take on redundant Electrolux workers will miss out on the state government’s $6000 payroll tax incentive unless member for Orange Andrew Gee is able to convince his parliamentary colleagues to extend the cut-off.

On Tuesday, Premier Barry O’Farrell announced an increase to payroll tax rebates from $5000 to $6000 for employers that take on workers made redundant from firms that let go of at least 50 staff in regional areas and 100 in city areas.

Mr Gee initially hailed the announcement as good news to soften the blow for redundant Electrolux workers.

But yesterday, he said he had taken a “good look” at the legislation and found it would only apply to workers made redundant after January 1, 2014 and before July 1, 2015, meaning Electrolux workers made redundant when the plant winds down from the end of 2015 would miss out.

“Changing the date is easy enough to do, you don’t even need to amend the act,” Mr Gee said.

“The legislation says that the date can be extended through supporting regulations, which haven’t been drafted yet, so it’s just the stroke of a pen.”

Mr Gee said the increased payroll tax rebate was well intentioned, but there needed to be some consideration about what was happening in Orange and when it was happening. 

“Leaving it until the end of the next financial year is too late,” he said. 

“Firms in the Orange area need to be able to plan what they’re doing with respect to putting on additional staff and they need certainty with respect to government policy.”

Central West Community Union Alliance convener Joe Maric said the group was ramping up efforts for the state government to redirect a $4 million payroll tax break pledged for Electrolux to help the redundant workers find new jobs.

Mr Gee said he was still pushing for a package to encourage businesses to come to the area and existing ones to expand.

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