Screen Australia has been condemned by Nationals Senate Leader Bridget McKenzie for funding $625,000 of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars to “bring down the Australian beef industry.”
Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge is listed as a documentary on both Screen Australia and the ABC’s websites even though it was factually incorrect and imbalanced in its reporting, she suggested during Senate Estimates yesterday.
“The documentary is completely imbalanced and makes false claims about the Australian beef industry’s carbon emissions,” Sen McKenzie said.
“The integrity of documentaries supported by groups such as Screen Australia must be triple-checked because misinformation like this can be absolutely damning for industries, such as the beef sector, who have been completely misrepresented by a documentary like this.
“I am bewildered that Screen Australia has said on its website that the documentary ‘will place pressure on the people who are standing in the way of change’.
“Our red meat industry is certainly not standing in the way of change, nor are the millions of Australians who eat our top-quality, highly nutritious protein products. In fact the red meat industry is one of only two major sectors who have reduced their emissions since 1990, and these emissions more than halved to just 10 per cent between 2005 and 2017,” Senator McKenzie said.
During Senator McKenzie’s questioning, Screen Australia officials agreed to review the wording they used to describe the program and acknowledged they were aware that a complaint about the program had been lodged with the ABC by the beef industry.
“Decisions by funding groups need to be reviewed in line with what program is being produced, and other processes which ensure documentaries do not mislead people must be enhanced to ensure this sort of misreporting cannot occur,” Sen McKenzie said.
Her questioning of Screen Australia follows on from the Environment and Communications senate estimate session on Wednesday where she held the ABC to account for broadcasting the program.
The ABC has published a response from the Cattle Council of Australia, which has corrected the record on the untrue facts about Australian beef production and its carbon emissions, alongside the program on their iView website.