Rural and Regional Jobs (Urgent Motion)

I move:

        (1) That this House recognises the importance of manufacturing jobs in regional and rural centres in New South Wales.
        (2) Notes that the communities in Orange and Bathurst have been dealt a massive blow with hundreds of job losses being announced in the past week.
        (3) Calls on the Government to take action to protect jobs in regional and rural New South Wales.

 

Unfortunately, the Government that presides over New South Wales has a poor record and has performed unsatisfactorily with regard to jobs in regional areas. While the Leader of The Nationals and Deputy Premier is flying across the globe and ensuring that we lose even more jobs, he might think more about regional New South Wales and a bit less about the chairman’s lounge. A terribly sad announcement was made in Orange last week. I note that the member for Orange is not in the Chamber.

Mr Troy Grant: Yes, he is.

Mr CLAYTON BARR: I could not see him earlier. I apologise. The member for Orange tweeted that talking about the 544 jobs that would be lost was one of his saddest he has done in his role as a member of Parliament. One of the experts cited in the weekend newspaper declared that the Electrolux factory provided approximately 4.4 per cent of the city’s total employment and $70 million to the local economy, and that will be lost. That is in addition to the Simplot factory in Bathurst, which manufactures chiko rolls, losing 110 jobs and approximately $10 million being lost to the local economy. That follows Downer EDI at Bathurst losing 100 jobs, which will mean a loss of $10 million to the local economy. That is all in addition to the closure of the Hydro Aluminium smelter at Kurri Kurri and the loss of 550 jobs as well as approximately $100 million lost directly or indirectly to the local economy, and the loss of 100 jobs at Tomago Aluminium. Manufacturing is driven by many things, but one of the most significant is New South Wales’ manufacturing contracts. For the past 2½ years the Government has had the opportunity to enter into and renew contracts for the building of trains and buses, but it has not done so. That is the Government’s decision and the blame for it lies with the Government.

The Deputy Premier spoke earlier about the closure of Electrolux at Orange. He is attempting to rally his troops. The reality is that each member of the National Party is facing uncertainty. Following the by-election for Miranda, members of the National Party—who thought they were on a gravy train to longevity and greatness—realised that they were now under considerable duress. The Deputy Premier said today that the failure of Electrolux was due to the carbon tax. When he was talking about the community of Orange and Electrolux last week he did not once mention the carbon tax. John Brown, the managing director of Electrolux Australia, did not once mention the carbon tax, nor did Andrew Gee, the member for Orange. They talked about labour costs, international competition and the high value of the Australian dollar, but not the carbon tax. It is one thing for the Deputy Premier to talk about it today, but it is another thing for it to have significance or meaning.The Deputy Premier should stop travelling around the globe; he should get out into regional New South Wales. Did he visit the Electrolux factory? The member for Orange might be able to answer that. Did he visit Simplot at Bathurst? The member for Bathurst might be able to answer that. He has not visited Hydro Aluminium in the Hunter, Downer EDI or United Goninan. Nor has he visited the Tomago smelter or Volgren. This Minister—who is supposed to be responsible for trade and infrastructure, and regional development—does not care about regional development in New South Wales. When Grafton jail closed, in the electorate right next door to him, with the loss of more than 100 jobs and at a cost of more than $10 million to the local economy, he did not bother to go next door to discuss the issue. The Deputy Premier should be condemned.