LABOR’S spokesperson for trade and investment Mick Veitch has questioned why the state government has not progressed debate on payroll tax rebate changes to help Electrolux workers.
Mr Veitch addressed the Legislative Council last week, three months after he proposed an extension to a $6000 rebate paid to employers who took on workers made redundant from regional firms letting go of at least 50 staff.
Without the amendment, the legislation would only apply to workers made redundant before July 1 next year, meaning Electrolux workers who become unemployed when the plant winds down from the end of 2015 would miss out.
“If this was such an important and significant part of the Central West Jobs Action Plan, I ask government members why debate on that bill has not been brought back on,” Mr Veitch said in Parliament.
Mr Veitch, who hails from Young, said people who lost their jobs in Bathurst had told him they were considering moving away from the central west to find other employment.
“If all families do that it will have an impact on schools and create a domino effect ... we will lose teachers, police officers and nurses,” he said.
Speaking after the address, Mr Veitch said he was frustrated.
“I think we caught them short because they hadn’t thought of the amendment and it’s difficult to accept the opposition’s amendment, but it was put forward in good faith,” he said.
“I don’t know why Andrew Gee isn’t making more noise - surely he can push for it to be heard.”
Mr Gee, the member for Orange, said the amendment was still being investigated and would not be drawn on whether he thought it would work.
“The whole issue of the Electrolux closure is high on the agenda and that includes payroll tax,” he said.
“It’s not all doom and gloom and there’s still interest with businesses setting up in Orange - I’m confident that those businesses will come and soften the blow.”
Orange mayor John Davis said the issue “might look like it’s dead”, but he was confident of an outcome in the coming months.