THERE was excellent news for Orange this week when the Deputy Premier announced that a Central West Jobs Plan was being developed.
This is welcome news and is something I’ve been fighting for from day one.
In terms of the government’s response, there seems to have been some confusion about what I have been critical of and what I haven’t, so let’s press hold, and look at the facts.
In dealing with the first phase of the Electrolux issue, the NSW Government has led the way.
Firstly we offered Electrolux millions in payroll tax rebates to keep going.
Next, after the closure was announced, the NSW Government helped organise labour market information sessions for workers, the Jobs Expo, and now TAFE Western in tailoring re-training programs for 420 employees.
As you are reading this, there are 198 workers either enrolled or about to start re-training programs that are in some way subsidised by the NSW Government.
What’s not to like about a fantastic achievement like that?
Where I have been very vocal (and I make no apology for it) is for the need to get a second part to the NSW Government response, in particular, a plan to encourage business expansion and jobs growth.
I’ve made speeches on it in the NSW Parliament, I’ve raised it constantly through the media, and (as I think my colleagues would agree) I’ve fought very hard in the party room in Sydney.
Governments can move frustratingly slowly at times, and it’s my job to get things cracking when it’s called for.
Here is an extract from a speech in Parliament I made a month ago:
The retraining program will be vital, but we also need to think about how and where we will secure jobs for workers when they come onto the labour market.
Many of the pieces are falling into place, but we need a complete plan ... time is on our side, but it is passing quickly and the sooner this issue can be resolved the better.
I will not rest until it is resolved. We are driving forward and I am determined to maintain the momentum.”
With Wednesday’s announcement, we can maintain the momentum.