UNIONS are calling on Member for Orange Andrew Gee to show his hand and come out in support of workers who may lose their jobs as the result of state government budgetary cuts.
Central West Union Alliance spokesman Troy Sweeting said members of several unions that made up the alliance were uncertain about jobs and service cuts, causing anxiety among members who did not know if their jobs were secure.
“The O’Farrell government has justified the cuts to Orange jobs and services by referring to a budget black hole, a claim that has now been categorically rejected by the Auditor-General,” he said.
However Mr Gee said the union movement and its organisers should “fess up and accept responsibility for the tough economic times in the state.”
“For 16 years the union and their political wing, the Labor Party, mismanaged the economy and the cupboard was absolutely bare when we arived on the scene,” he said.
Mr Sweeting said Mr Gee needed to connect with his constituents who were living with the uncertainty of job losses and cuts to vital services in the area.
“Mr Gee has no valid reason, now that the government has found extra money in treasury, to defend cuts to health, education and the community services sector,” Mr Sweeting said.
“These cuts will make life harder for people in the Orange electorate.”
Mr Sweeting said the alliance represented the concerns of members from the public service, including teachers and education staff, health and emergency service workers.
“Our members just feel they don’t know where Mr Gee stands on these issues and we want him to speak out and support us,” he said.
“Now that the state government has found it has this extra money, this should be a good result for Orange.
“Maybe now we will get the teachers, nurses, paramedics, public housing, infrastructure investment, community workers and the 24-hour medical retrieval service we need for a functioning local community.
Mr Gee said the state had been living beyond its means and still faced major challenges in reining in the budget.
“I am very happy that a bureaucratic accounting error has found more money than we though we had, but NSW is not out of the woods yet,” he said.
“The community expects us to bring the state’s finances under control and that’s what we are doing,” he said.
Central West Union Alliance Priority List for Mr Gee.
1. A commitment for a 24-hour medical retrieval (helicopter) service based out of Orange.
2. Extra paramedics for Orange.
3. Ensure no job losses in the community services sector.
4. Shore up teaching positions and in particular cuts to resources for teachers.
5. Give a clear direction as to the future of jobs at the Department of Primary Industries.
6. Defend the rights of workers over cuts to Workers Compensation payments.