MISMANAGEMENT by the government is to blame for the job cutbacks at SunRice, according to Shooters, Fishers and Farmers spokeswoman Helen Dalton.
Mrs Dalton said “decisions to hoard Murray-Darling water to flush out to sea” is killing jobs in the MIA.
"SunRice has just cut 100 jobs in Leeton and Deniliquin because there’s a lack of water," she said.
"The major reason is not drought. Just two years ago all our storages and rivers were spilling and flooding.
"The NSW government is hoarding thousands of megalitres of water while, at the same time, the federal government is sending their stored water to flush out to South Australian seas.”
Meanwhile, Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) has also reacted to the news of the job losses, saying it empathized with staff, but also knew it wouldn’t have been an easy decision to make by SunRice.
“Unfortunately this is the impact of dryer conditions and has happened before and most likely will happen again with the changing weather patterns, MI chief executive officer Brett Jones said.
“The tremendous strength of the MIA is its resilience.
“The MIA is a highly productive region and is not reliant on the success of any one crop.
“This is evident through the huge diversity of crops that are grown here from nuts, vegetables and cotton through to citrus, prunes and grapes, just to name a few.
“Our farmers are also some of the most innovative, thinking outside the square to make every drop count during these dry times.”
Last week SunRice announced it would be cutting around 100 jobs from its Leeton and Deniliquin mills.
The Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia was devastated by the news.
In a submission made to the Department of Agriculture and Water and Resources, before SunRice made their announcement, the RGA reiterated its long-standing message it does not support the recovery of an additional 450 gigalitres of water from productive use.
The RGA said all water recovered from productive use results in negative social and economic impacts for basin communities, irrigators and industries, in particular due to the flow on effects of increased water prices.
RGA president Jeremy Morton said while the drought was a significant factor in the job losses, there was no doubt the Basin Plan was “responsible for some of these people losing their job”.
“All the evidence shows us the reduction in the pool of productive water means less people with a job,” he said.
“All those who voted for this reform in 2012 need to own this outcome.
“On behalf of the RGA we extend our deepest concern to everyone who is affected and encourage all to look out for each other.”
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