Opinion

Where is the rice mill’s media, political frenzy?

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

When Ford announced it was closing its Geelong manufacturing plant there was public, political and media outcry.

Governments stepped in with various promises and packages to support the region’s community and those who had lost their job.

From figures we have seen the Ford closure had a direct impact on 0.3 per cent of its regional population.

When Holden announced the closure of its Elizabeth plant in South Australia there was a similar response, with a media frenzy and commitments by politicians to spend millions on adjustment packages.

Our figures suggest this closure had a direct impact on 0.07 per cent of its regional population.

So what happens when SunRice announces the cutbacks at its Deniliquin mill, with the loss of about 100 jobs? Where is the media frenzy? Where are the politicians offering to help out the individuals directly affected and the wider community which suffers the consequences?

The direct impact to our region is not 0.3 per cent like Geelong, nor 0.07 per cent like Elizabeth. It’s one whole per cent ... more than three times the reported impact on Geelong and more than 10 times that of Elizabeth.

But we do not hear a whimper.

We haven’t heard a word from state Member for Murray Austin ‘missing in action’ Evans, though that is not surprising. It seems to be par for the course when there is any issue that needs state government attention.

Nor have we heard from his leader and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro. He came to Deniliquin a few months ago but since then has not even answered letters about a range of concerns in this community.

It must therefore be time this region asked: Why aren’t we getting the political representation we want and deserve?

Why can Geelong and Elizabeth get government support at difficult times, but the Deniliquin district gets ignored?

Why do we have an underachieving local member who is unable to get the attention and results we need?

These questions deserve answers. If we do not get them, accompanied by serious action very soon we believe there is no choice but to change our representation at the ballot box next year.