ABC asking the wrong questions


NSW Farmers is calling on ABC TV to ask the right questions about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan following revelations in The Weekly Times about misleading scientific evidence used in the plans development. 

NSW Farmers’ Conservation and Resource Management Committee Chair, Bronwyn Petrie, says these revelations are the real smoking gun that requires investigation by the Four Corners program, not a taxpayer-funded scheme which has seen farmers return more than 700 gigalitres of water to the 9000 gigalitres available for the environment.

“If there’s to be an investigation into anything, we should be focussing our attention on the alarming revelations that scientific evidence was tampered with, which may have resulted in the Murray Darling Basin Plan being developed on misleading information”, Ms Petrie said.

“Farmers across the Murray Darling Basin, including many NSW Farmers members, are battling one of the worst droughts on record, with near-record low inflows into the system.  The ABC Four Corners’ decision to focus so heavily, and misleadingly, on productive agricultural practices operating within the law demonstrates a lack of understanding.”

Ms Petrie  said the Four Corners team would be better to spend its time investigating the vested interests in the environmental movement who want to shut regional Australia down by removing water from productive agricultural purposes to prop up man-made freshwater lakes in South Australia.
 
“The ABC should commit to placing the same amount of scrutiny upon the scientific community which has made questionable claims about the lower lakes and Coorong, and then they should apologise to the hard-working farmers across the Murray Darling Basin who have been tarnished by the ABC’s ill-informed sensationalism.”

Ms Petrie said farmers needed it to rain, but they also need a fair go from the media in relation to water issues.

“The Murray Darling Basin Plan is an historic compromise which has left many farmers in New South Wales, literally, high and dry in pursuit of environmental objectives and demands from South Australia.  It remains far from perfect, and there are elements which should be amended if it is to achieve the environmental outcomes it was established to deliver.”

“The Murray Darling Basin Plan has reduced the amount of water available for irrigation across the basin.  If farmers are using ‘more’ water it is because they are buying it from an already reduced pool of water and from another farmer.  There is not an infinite supply.”

“Those in the city need to understand that for food to appear in their local greengrocer or supermarket, it needs to be grown on a farm with water.  Take away the water and you take away the produce.  Farmers are doing more than their fair share in returning water to the environment and it is about time these sacrifices were recognised”, Ms Petrie concluded.

Date: Wednesday 10 July 2019
Media Contact:  Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988 | burtm@nswfarmers.org.au