The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has weighed in to the Orange byelection.
Just days after NSW Premier Mike Baird backed down on the hot-button issue of the November vote, the union sought to make jobs the primary issue.
The AMWU will splurge on advertising in the electorate to remind voters of the state government’s decision to outsource new trains construction to South Korea.
A move, the AMWU says, costs the state 1200 jobs.
NSW branch secretary Tim Ayres said the union had counted 47,000 manufacturing jobs leaving NSW since 2011.
Mr Ayres returned to the Electrolux factory, where he had represented workers in talks with management in the past. He said the closure of the factory showed the state government’s attitude.
“This is a government which doesn’t care about the future of manufacturing,” Mr Ayres said.
“We’ve seen Electrolux close, we’ve seen Bathurst EDI close, Windsor Farm Foods in Cowra close, we’ve seen closure, after closure, after closure.
“We see youth unemployment starting to head north of 14 to 15 per cent here. We need to be building investment in these communities.
“Let’s make Orange a marginal seat, let’s send a message to Macquaire Street, we are not going to be taken for granted, that regional voters can speak with one voice and send a message to the NSW government.
“Mike Baird and the Liberals have taken the support of areas like Orange for granted, they’ve never put them in the column of areas they need to fight for.
“It’s about time the people in Macquarie Street started fighting for blue-collar jobs in the regions.”
Mr Ayres said the state government shouldered some of the blame for the closure of the Electrolux factory.
“Despite there being a very strong case that was made, a very small level of support from the Commonwealth and NSW government would have delivered hundreds and hundreds of jobs sustainably in Orange,” he said.
“The blame for that can be laid squarely at the feet of the NSW and Commonwealth governments.
“I think it’s time that people of Orange send a very clear message to the NSW government, ‘we’re not here to be taken for granted’.”
It’s about time the people in Macquarie Street started fighting for blue-collar jobs in the regions.