Bishop says answers may lie in prayer

Considerable challenges continue to face our region. Both the bushfires and recent job losses in areas of our Diocese will have a tremendous impact on many families.

Bishop McKenna has expressed his appreciation for the prayers and financial support that the people of our Diocese have offered during the recent fire crisis. “As we know from our own experience, it is after the emergency has passed that practical and emotional support is particularly needed” the Bishop said.

Another area of huge concern now, and in the time ahead, is the loss, or potential loss, of jobs in Bathurst, Orange and Lithgow in the production, manufacturing, mining and energy sectors. (There is a summary of this grave situation below).

Bishop McKenna is calling the people of our Diocese to prayer as a way forward. “Our support is needed for hundreds of people in our region who are losing their jobs because local factories and businesses are closing or relocating” he said.

“I am not yet sure what we as a church community will be able to do, but the best place to start is prayer. I would ask all parishes to begin this in the time ahead. One result of genuine prayer can be a growth in awareness and wisdom about what we could do”.

  • By 2016, more than 600 jobs will be lost from the restructuring of two major employers in Bathurst and Orange.
  • 110 full time positions are expected to be lost at Simplot, with only 60 jobs being saved in the Bathurst plant.
  • Around 500 Electrolux staff in Orange will become redundant between now and the final closure in 2016, when operations will be moved to Thailand. While there will be offers of redeployment for some, this would mean a move to Adelaide.
  • It has been suggested that as many as 900 jobs at Orange could be at risk as a flow-on from the Electrolux closure.
  • Over 90 Lithgow mine employees have been made redundant. Three mining companies in the Lithgow region have laid off staff, with one company releasing more than 60 employees. Another has restructured its operations resulting in more job losses and yet another has gone into voluntary receivership.
  • EDI in Bathurst plans to consolidate its operations by closing its Bathurst facility. It’s likely the company will shift work from Bathurst to existing plants at Cardiff, near Newcastle, and at Newport in Victoria. If the plan goes ahead, 100 boilermakers, electrical mechanics, industrial spray painters, fitters and administrative staff will lose their jobs. There will be offers of redeployment, but again that means a significant upheaval for many families.
  • The State government is looking at possibly selling the electrical distribution network - around 400 to 500 workers in the Bathurst and Orange area work for Essential Energy and the effects of such a sale on jobs is uncertain.

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