ORANGE businesses could have access to millions of dollars in financial assistance provided they are putting on extra staff, says Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner.
Mr Stoner was in Orange on Tuesday to tour the Electrolux factory.
He did not announce any funding for the region but said there would be funding available for a central west jobs plan before the end of the year.
He did not say how much funding, but suggested it could be more than the financial assistance packages offered to regions such as the Illawarra in the wake of mass redundancies at BlueScope Steel.
He said there was no particular cap on the funding that could be available.
Mr Stoner said businesses would have to apply to the state government for funding and each proposal would be assessed individually.
“The criteria will always be about the number of jobs they create,” he said.
Mr Stoner said the central west jobs plan was more marketable than financial assistance packages offered in the Illawarra.
Mr Stoner said the plan was similar to what was offered to the Northern Rivers where businesses could apply for funding if they proved they were in the Northern Rivers, were viable, had at least two years operating experience and demonstrated they would create two full-time equivalent jobs.
“We have to talk to local businesses about their proposals,” he said.
“Those proposals have to stack up because we’re dealing with tax payers’ money.
“If the jobs are there we’ll back [the businesses].”
In the past, member for Orange Andrew Gee had been critical of the state government’s response to the plant’s pending closure in 2016, but had been reluctant to say what assistance he believed was required.
However, on Tuesday Mr Gee said the NSW government had acted quickly to minimise the fallout.
He said government representatives had entered the factory from day one and every week since the announcement.
Mr Gee said the first phase of the jobs plan was going well, with most Electrolux employees taking up courses at TAFE.
“We have to promote business expansion ... we need to keep an eye on that,” he said.
Mr Stoner said the government had been heavily involved in the region by offering payroll tax rebates for NSW businesses that put on redundant workers, providing funding to send Electrolux employees to TAFE, offering regional relocation grants, moving 40 public service jobs to the area and creating 300 jobs in Orange through the expansion of the airport.