Ms LEY (Farrer) (13:41): Almost all of the rice in Australia is grown in my electorate of Farrer. The majority of this is onsold to Ricegrowers Ltd—better known by its main brand, SunRice, one of the world’s largest rice food companies. From their main production base at Leeton, up to 80 per cent of this local rice is exported to around 60 destinations throughout the Middle East, North America and Asia.
The rice industry generates $800 million in revenue each year and employs and supports thousands of people in regional Australia, mainly southern New South Wales. Unlike our competitors around the world our industry operates without export or production subsidies. Rice production is also at the forefront of 21st century technology and is becoming more and more water efficient. It takes about the same amount of water to grow a paddock of lucerne as it does to grow a paddock of rice. Plus, the saturation of the soil supports the next crop, for example wheat or pasture .
My call to action to every Australian is to buy Australian rice. It is very easy—SunRice continues to produce innovative products that are quick to prepare, that are organic, and there are lots of new varieties, lots of different packaging and so on. Not only are you supporting farmers and food producers; you are getting yourself the healthiest possible product, grown sustainably and with value added every single step of the way.