Mill opening a show of faith: McCormack

Reopening the Coleambally rice mill is a show of confidence in the region and challenges the Federal Government to show similar faith, according to Nationals’ Member for Riverina Michael McCormack.

Describing today’s announcement as “exciting news”, Mr McCormack said the onus was now on the Government to “delivery certainty” to the Riverina.
The Coleambally mill will resume operations, a development costing $2.3 million and generating 34 jobs.
“This is a tremendous boost not just for Coleambally, not just for the Riverina but for the rice industry in southern New South Wales,” Mr McCormack said.
 Mr McCormack said the announcement was well received at the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia annual conference at Hay.
“The rice grown in our part of the world is the best anywhere and is recognised as such,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Prime Minister told a leading food forum in May of the need to strengthen irrigation and the Federal Agriculture Minister praised the rice industry while visiting Leeton just last week,” Mr McCormack said.
“If they truly mean what they say now is the time to show it by ensuring water availability to the Coleambally, Murrumbidgee and Murray irrigation areas through a sensible Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
“These regions and the people in them need productive water to be able to grow food, including rice which is such a staple, to help feed our nation and others as well.”
The Coleambally rice mill closed more than four years ago when rice production fell to 19,000 tonnes in the drought but reopened briefly last year to help process the 800,000-tonne crop.
This year’s crop is expected to be 960,000 tonnes.

Cristy Houghton