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Misleading propaganda a waste of taxpayer money

A community group has slammed an Albanese Government advertisement as “misleading propaganda”, saying it is an “appalling waste of taxpayer money”.

Members of the Speak Up Campaign say they were “outraged” when they saw the television advertisement which claims the Murray-Darling Basin Plan will “pump life into our farms”.

“The reality is in stark contrast to this inaccurate propaganda,” said Speak Up Deputy Chair Lloyd Polkinghorne. “Our farmers are threatened, their ability to grow the food we need is being sacrificed and all Australians will pay through higher food prices at the supermarket.

“That is what is really happening across the Murray-Darling Basin, but we have a government that is prepared to mislead the public in a brazen attempt to gain environmental votes,” Mr Polkinghorne said.

The government advertisement claims rivers could run dry during the next drought, to which Mr Polkinghorne responded: “The Murray River and its tributaries will not run dry because we have massive volumes of water in upstream storages. Even during recent drought periods, when there was no water for food production and towns on severe restrictions, the Murray River was running a banker, sending massive quantities of water to South Australia.

“To make claims that ‘if we don’t act it could threaten our plants and animals, our food supply and effect the drinking water of more three million Australians’, as the advertisement does, is bordering on scandalous,” Mr Polkinghorne said.

He added the main threat to the nation’s food supply was the government’s incomprehensible push to buy more water from farmers and store it in dams, which has the unintended consequence of increasing flood risk and causing billions of dollars damage to public and private infrastructure.

“And I’m just not sure how the government can claim there is a threat to the drinking water of more than three million Australians. This is absurd. In the Millennium Drought the main issue with water supply was in Adelaide, and this has been mitigated with construction of a desalination plant, at huge taxpayer expense. Unfortunately, the plant generally lays idle because it is cheaper for Adelaide to source its water supply from dams at the top of the system, despite the massive waste from transmission losses.”

Mr Polkinghorne said it was obvious the Albanese Government is desperate to use the Basin Plan as a ‘green’ vote winner, and obviously has no issue using taxpayer funds to achieve this goal. At the same time, it refuses to accept the plan’s shortcomings.

“Isn’t it strange that the government fails to tell average Australians struggling with cost of living that the Basin Plan will reduce food production and therefore increase food prices? It is unconscionable for any government to use taxpayers dollars to promote the deceptive propaganda that we see in this advertising campaign.

“The only effect the Basin Plan will have on food supply during a drought is reducing production even further, as we saw during the 2018-20 drought when huge quantities of wheat had to be imported. We are also importing more dairy products, after the Basin Plan forced dairy farmers off the land.

“It seems the Albanese Government, which continues to introduce a raft of anti-agriculture policies, either does not understand how food is grown or does not care about the damage it is causing farming communities, in blind pursuit of an ideological ‘green’ agenda. In doing so, it is also crippling the confidence of farmers in Australia’s food bowl.

“The only certainty with the Basin Plan is that it will not stop fish deaths in the Darling, or riverbank erosion along the Murray, because it is a plan based on poor modelling that has a political focus, not an environmental one. The taxpayer funded advertisements are further evidence of this indisputable fact,” Mr Polkinghorne said.

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