Look after businesses and each other: Rutter
The pain of the Deniliquin Rice Mill’s future operation reductions and job losses is being felt keenly by Deniliquin Business Chamber president Paula Rutter, both on a professional and personal level.
As well as trying to get a grasp on the impact it will have on the business and wider district community, Mrs Rutter said there’s a lot of uncertainty around her husband Darren Rutter’s position with SunRice at the Deni mill.
Mrs Rutter said making SunRice’s decision harder to stomach is that it all could have been avoided through a greater emphasis on the socio-economic impacts of water policy.
‘‘When are governments going to wake up and realise we are in a man-made drought? It is a drought that should not be,’’ she said.
‘‘This is a direct impact of no water allocations, and not because there is a lack of water in the dams.
‘‘The dams are so full of water, which is not being released to farmers.
‘‘At least the last drought was genuine — there was no water.
‘‘Our town did survive it (the mill closing) once before, but we went through one of the worst 10 year periods — three years of them in particular.
‘‘Some people walked off their farms, some people did not survive (financially).
‘‘There were serious mental health issues that stemmed from the last drought, and we don’t want to see that again.
‘‘Businesses closed and we don’t want to see that again, because many of them did not come back. That affects out schools, our hospital and our economy.’’
Mrs Rutter said the most important messages for the community now is to look after each other, and support each other.
‘‘Now, more than ever, it’s so important to shop in town and support local businesses. They are the businesses that support your kid at school and local sporting groups,’’ she said.
‘‘Cut down on the online shopping and, as I have always said, make Deniliquin your first choice.’’