NSW Government instils renewed confidence and policy rigour for the Riverina

1 May 2015 11:11 AM -

The Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) today applauded the NSW Government’s willingness to engage with stakeholders early in the electoral cycle across the Riverina, highlighting that the rice industry had two very capable voices championing the sector in the NSW Cabinet. 

The RGA this week had dinner with the NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water, Niall Blair and local member for Murray and NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli, to address a raft of policy issues and explore strategies for positive reform and progress over the next four years. Senior Departmental officials from the Director General down to the Minister’s water and media advisers also attended. 

RGA’s Executive Director Dean Logan said, “This was without a doubt one of the most fruitful and worthwhile dinners I’ve attended with a Government Minister, with the RGA securing considerable time with both Ministers to discuss the rice industry. 

“The willingness of Ministers’ Blair and Piccoli to engage stakeholders is refreshing and commendable.” 

The RGA along with key irrigator based stakeholders were invited to dinner to discuss a range of issues from water policy, rice single desk, input costs, productivity, regional socio-economic dynamics to trade and federal policy issues. Whilst significant detail was covered one clear message was evident – the NSW Government is open for business and regional NSW is front and centre of the Government’s agenda. 

Mr Logan concluded, “A point that resonated throughout the evening was that while challenges remain, talking down communities and industries is a poor substitute for constructive policy development. 

“This Government is setting a foundation for strong ongoing dialogue, where challenges and solutions are placed on the table and assessed maturely, based on their impacts on farmers, industry and the community. 

“The RGA stands committed to the process and accepts the offer from both Ministers to engage again in a more comprehensive and technical sense over the next fortnight, in the hope of delivering positive reform and solutions to the issues RGA members and their communities face on a daily basis.” 

Download media release here.