The Pauls factory in Rockhampton's CBD.
The Pauls factory in Rockhampton's CBD.

Union and government step in to help sacked factory staff

WORKERS impacted by the closure of Lactalis's Rockhampton Pauls factory will have the chance to seek out support and career options at a forum next week.

Despite being blocked by Lactalis from accessing the 47 impacted workers, the Palaszczuk Government has acted immediately to convene a forum on Monday, February 17.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said a range of local employers from other industries would be invited to the forum to help secure alternative jobs for the affected workers.

"My department's local office has been in touch with Lactalis to help secure jobs for the impacted employees," Mr Dick said.

"Regrettably, to date, Lactalis has not allowed access by my department to their workforce, as would normally occur in a situation like this. That's why we are working with the unions and workers to establish this forum."

Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government stood ready to help the affected employees.

"We will do everything we can to help former employees transition successfully to other lines of work," he said.

"Whether it's providing more information about services, or connecting workers with other employees, these workers are not alone."

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the Palaszczuk Government would always back manufacturing in Central Queensland.

"We want to keep workers in Rocky and on the Capricorn Coast, and we know there are other opportunities for workers in the region," she said.

"This forum is one way to make sure we connect the right people with the right jobs."

Australian Workers Union Qld Branch secretary Steve Baker said they would not leave any stones unturned to help their members get through this.

"Right throughout this process, we've been in constant communication with the State Government to make sure that affected workers are getting every possible help and support," he said.

Rohan Webb, state secretary of the Queensland and Northern Territory branch of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said Lactalis should be doing everything possible to support workers.

"Regardless of what the company does, the AMWU is working with the Queensland Government to provide support and ensure the best possible outcome for local workers, their families and the Rockhampton community," he said.

The agencies and ­organisations participating in the forum including local ­businesses, employment ­agencies, other government agencies and support services, will be confirmed later this week.