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‘OUTRAGED’: Murray River Council blasts ABC TV show

By Charmayne Allison

AN OUTRAGED Murray River Council will write a letter to ABC complaining about a ‘‘disgraceful’’ episode of satirical morning show Get Krack!n which they say could negatively affect tourism in the twin towns.

Campaspe Shire Council and Echuca Moama Tourism confirmed they had also written to the show’s production company expressing community concern about the program.

The first episode of the show’s second season, released earlier this year, saw hosts — comedians Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan, who also created, wrote and produced the show — drop into Echuca-Moama.

Part of the program’s ‘We Bloody Love Australia’ tour, the episode poked fun at commercial morning breakfast shows and their often-condescending portrayal of rural and regional areas.

But Murray River councillors aren’t laughing.

“This is despicable, it’s a disgrace,” Cr Tom Weyrich said at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“I had to watch the episode in three instalments because I found it so difficult to watch. I’m very disappointed they could portray us as those types of people.”

In a report presented on Tuesday, a council officer complained the episode ‘‘featured vulgar language, was in extremely poor taste and an affront to the communities of Echuca and Moama’’.

The officer claimed the episode could have a negative impact on visitation to Echuca-Moama at a time when the community is relying on tourism to underpin the economy during the current drought.

While several other councillors called for a letter of complaint to be sent to ABC, Cr Gen Campbell disagreed.

‘‘While I agree with comments, I do not agree with censorship of any kind and I don’t agree with writing a letter to ABC,’’ she said. ‘‘Things happen when you deal with the media that are out of your control, that’s just how it is.’’

A motion was carried (with only Cr Campbell opposing) to write a letter of complaint to ABC and develop a policy and procedure to ensure future program content filmed within MRC that depicted or referred to local communities did not ‘‘offend, demean or cause affront’’.

But ABC argued MRC had missed the punchline.

‘‘Get Krack!n is a well-known comedy program that satirises breakfast shows on commercial television, in line with Australia’s long and proud tradition of satire and parody on screen,’’ an ABC spokesperson said.

‘‘The comedic target in the first episode from the second season was not Echuca-Moama, but the arguably cynical and patronising ways in which commercial breakfast shows often portray regional Australia with ‘special tourism episodes’.

‘‘The episode complied with the ABC’s Editorial Policies and was preceded by a warning of coarse language.

‘‘The Victorian-based external producers of Get Krack!n consulted extensively with the Campaspe Shire Council prior to broadcast.’’

Campaspe Shire confirmed the production company lodged an application for filming, as well as providing all required documents.

The shire had requested both verbally and in writing that it did not want Echuca-Moama to be portrayed in a negative manner, however recognised it had no control over content as this was an independent film company.

Echuca Moama Tourism said it had not been involved in promoting the twin towns to the producers of the show or provided funding to have the program filmed here.

EMT chief executive Kathryn Mackenzie said she had already written to the producers.

‘‘Echuca Moama Tourism did receive quite a bit of comment regarding the program,’’ she said.

‘‘I did write a note of concern to the ABC stating that a program such as this did not ingratiate Echuca-Moama as a destination and that for an industry and community that works so hard to deliver a wonderful tourism experience it was not well received.

‘‘I have had no response to date.’’