Vegetable IAC’s independence is absolute

AUSVEG has today hit back at a recent ABC story claiming that horticulture’s Industry Advisory Committees (IACs) are “stacked with lobby groups”, stating that the independence of the Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) is absolute.

“Recent claims by ABC Rural that the Vegetable IAC is ‘stacked’ with Members of the Peak Industry Body are ridiculous. This is a clear example of the ABC reporter’s lack of fact checking,” said AUSVEG CEO, Richard Mulcahy.

ABC Rural’s recent report posted online and on air in Queensland that Industry Advisory Committees are “stacked with lobby groups like Citrus Australia or AUSVEG” was a lazy attempt to generate larger interest in a story by using AUSVEG’s name. In reality, the story boiled down to quotes from a fruit grower who is not represented by AUSVEG nor would he be reasonably informed about the makeup of the Vegetable IAC.

“The ABC has made some gross oversights here that have not presented the material facts accurately and in context. Furthermore information has been presented in a way that would materially mislead a reasonable person listening to the story,” said Mr Mulcahy.

The lack of fact checking by ABC Rural is demonstrably a violation of the ABC’s accuracy principles and standards within their editorial guidelines.

“The journalist in question has failed to fact check before publishing the story and has damaged the reputation of the Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, which fiercely defends its independence,” said Mr Mulcahy.

The Vegetable IAC is a sub-committee of the HAL Board and provides recommendations to it on projects to be funded. The Committee is made up of vegetable growers from around the country, many of whom have strong academic credentials, and is independent of the AUSVEG Board and its decision making. Each of the grower representatives cannot hold any office with AUSVEG and none are members.

“The Vegetable IAC is fiercely protective of its independence and goes to considerable lengths to eliminate conflicts of interest. AUSVEG is demanding a retraction of the story and corrections to be posted online and played on-air in Queensland and is writing to ABC Managing Director Mark Scott in this regard,” said Mr Mulcahy.

12 February 2014


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