HUNDREDS of Ballarat manufacturing jobs have been slashed and more than 5000 have gone from the wider Central Highlands and Wimmera region in a short period.
The latest quarterly labour force figures showed 8300 people were working in manufacturing in the Central Highlands and Wimmera region in August compared to 13,700 in 2010.
Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight has kept a list of manufacturing job losses since August 2012 and said the Liberal state government had not done enough to protect Victorian jobs.
She said cuts included 26 jobs from SP Treads, more than 50 from CMI Industries, 24 from UGL rail, 38 from Mars and 34 from SEM Fire and Rescue.
“Through better government planning and contract scheduling, the people who have lost jobs at local rail manufacturers could still be working today,” she said.
Ballarat Trades and Labour Council president Brett Edgington has called for the staging of a ‘manufacturing summit’ in Ballarat to tackle the crisis head on.
Mr Edgington said communities in Wendouree West and Sebastopol were decimated when Ballarat’s abattoirs, leather tanneries, paper and woollen mills were shut down in the 1980s.
They were dealing with intergenerational unemployment years later, he said.
“A fitter and turner, once they leave their job, you can’t get them to work in education or childcare,” he said.
“With the decimation of Tafe, what do you reskill them with?”
Just seven per cent of all employees in the region work in manufacturing, down from 14 per cent three years ago, the latest figures show.
The Ballarat City Council and the Committee for Ballarat have been pushing to fast track the Ballarat West Employment Zone – a response to the challenges of population growth, manufacturing industry transition and ensuring sufficient industrial land supply.
Committee for Ballarat chief executive officer Judy Verlin said it was always disappointing to hear of job losses, particularly as Ballarat’s population continued to grow.
“With population growth we need jobs creation,” she said.
“We need to make sure, as we transition businesses, we continue to have our focus on retention of current business but also attraction of new businesses and opportunities.”
Ms Verlin said there were companies at risk. Ballarat needed to ensure it provided support for new technologies in current businesses, she said.
“There are some exciting new initiatives and opportunities that will come with the Ballarat West Employment Zone,” she said.
Where the jobs went...
Job cuts in Ballarat in the past two years:
92 jobs at Telstra’s Wendouree call centre
67 jobs at CMI Industries
26 jobs at SP Treads
38 jobs at Mars
24 redundancies at UGL Rail
33 job losses of electricians and all apprentices at Alstom
Ongoing redundancies at SEM Fire and Rescue
34 Jobs at Goodman Fielder
20–25 jobs at Rivers Warehouse
20 jobs at AME (Ararat)
7 job losses at Mapal Industries