MEMBER for Orange Andrew Gee’s achievements since he was elected as part of the Coalition have yet to live up to the commitment to Orange by the previous Labor government, according to president of Orange Country Labor Gavin Hillier.
Mr Hillier says Labor’s legacy includes the building of a new $270 million hospital a $9 million police station and part funding of the northern distributor road,
Responding to Mr Gee’s announcement on Saturday that he will stand for the seat of Orange again in next year’s state election, Mr Hillier said Mr Gee has not managed a number of major issues hanging over Orange and the electorate.
“He has been ineffectual,” he said.
“In Orange we have had public service cuts, cuts to health services and jobs and there’s been nothing resolved with the payroll tax issue over Electrolux workers,” he said.
Mr Hillier said while Mr Gee is talking up his achievements since being elected Labor members are still in the process of deciding on a candidate to run against the incumbent.
“We have had some expressions of interest but our candidate won’t be announced on a local level - it will come from the state level,” he said.
Vice president of the Orange Branch of Country Labor Joe Maric says he acknowledges Mr Gee has pushed the case for the 24-7 on-call aeromedical retrieval services based in Orange, which began three months ago.
He’s concerned the rise in TAFE fees next year will affect not only Electrolux workers but will impact heavily on anyone wanting to study at TAFE.
“You can’t expect those people who are losing their jobs to fork out thousands of dollars to retrain and we need an announcement about this now from Mr Gee,” Mr Maric said.
“We are still waiting to hear about the packages for retraining Electrolux workers and a major concern of our party is that with TAFE fees to skyrocket next year who is going to foot the bill.
Mr Maric said he is calling on Mr Gee to put his energy into to issues which are still confronting the people of Orange and the electorate.
That includes more funding for palliative care services, improving staff patient ratios for nurses at Orange hospital, and making sure the plan by Western Local Health District management to transition more acute and non-acute patients into the community is implemented with sufficient support networks in place.
He said another big issue for Country Labor members is the change to workers’ compensation payouts for people injured on their way to work.
“We are working closely with the Injury Support Network in Bathurst and we know of people who have lost their houses and are being supported by the families and it’s having a devastating effect on people,” he said.