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Chair ousted over on-air comments

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December 06, 2017

Berrigan farmer Graeme Pyle has been ousted as the chair of Southern Riverina Irrigators less than a week before the group’s annual general meeting.

My Pyle, who had planned to step down from the position at the AGM, is believed to have been hit with the sanction over his on-air comments on the ABC Riverina’s Country Hour program on Thursday.

The particular segment was based around last Tuesday’s Murray Irrigation Limited’s AGM, where the company’s entire board resigned due to boardroom infighting and dysfunction.

Mr Pyle launched a stinging attack on the performance of some of the outgoing MIL directors during the interview.

Speaking to the Pastoral Times yesterday, Mr Pyle said he did not regret taking part in the interview which would ultimately end his tenure as SRI chair prematurely.

Saying he had planned to resign from the position at tonight’s SRI annual meeting, Mr Pyle said he felt he could not stay silent any longer on what he described as a group of ‘‘very destructive people’’.

He said he had doubts about the performance of the MIL Board for at least a decade, adding that he felt he could not fully express his concerns about the recent internal board review because of his position with SRI.

He also used the interview to take aim at two MIL directors who were reportedly considering withdrawing their resignation from the board at the AGM.

‘‘I felt I was in an untenable position having to work with the senior executives within Murray Irrigation,’’ Mr Pyle said.

‘‘I was in a position where I could not do anything about it. I felt I did my best for the shareholders.’’

Local landholder Alan Wragge also featured on the Country Hour program.

‘‘My plan of attack, and everyone else’s plan of attack, was to start with the board and get a new board in and start again, and work your way through the company from top to bottom,’’ Mr Wragge said on the program.

‘‘And I just think from the directors we need good leadership there, and then hopefully that filters down into the company.’’

Responding to the segment, Murray Irrigation’s interim chair Phil Snowden said Murray Irrigation’s management team and CEO have the full support of the Interim Board.

‘‘We are confident the company is heading in the right direction and we look forward to working with management over the coming months.

‘‘The negative statements made in this story are misleading and are simply untrue in the eyes of the vast majority of our shareholders.

‘‘The shareholders quoted in this story are clearly continuing their disruptive behaviour which we are determined to end.

‘‘This was made clear when the previous chairman drew a line in the sand at the (MIL) AGM.’’

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