Forestry and Ag Jobs Could Revive Grafton


Forestry and agriculture workers could be sent to Grafton from Sydney under a proposal from the State Member for Clarence
The State Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis has been campaigning for public service jobs in the forestry and agriculture sectors to be moved to Grafton.
A fortnight ago Premier Barry O’Farrell gave his deputy Andrew Stoner eight weeks to come up with a plan that would involve moving workers from Sydney to the Clarence.
The plan was designed to make up for the loss of about 100 jobs from the Grafton jail.
Mr Gulaptis said he had been corresponding with the Premier and Deputy Premier’s offices with his ideas about the types of jobs that should be relocated.
He said forestry was already a major industry in the Clarence that would benefit from additional resources.
“Forestry because we still have something like 60 timber mills working in our area, some major miller operations that are big employers,” he said.
“They certainly would welcome the opportunity to have forestry nearby, where they could have close discussions about how to improve their industry because it is under stress.”
Mr Gulaptis also said an agricultural station at Trenayr was a facility that could be expanded to create more jobs.
“The ag station has something like 860 hectares of land, it’s got buildings and facilities, aquaculture ponds and unlimited potential for expansion,” he said.
“And of course agriculture plays such an important role on the north coast, I think the farm gate value is close to $2 billion.”
Mr Gulaptis said he was still waiting to hear exactly how many jobs will be left in Grafton once the jail downsize is complete.
He stood by his opposition to the jail downsize, but said cuts were needed across the state.
“The story that hasn’t been told is that the cuts across the state are important,” he said.
“What happened in Grafton was devastating because we were copping more than our share.
“As of 30th of June New South Wales had a public debt of $40 billion.
“The unfortunate reality is that nobody thanks you for paying back debt.
“People remember you for building something or creating something.”

Source: ABC News

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