According to a message going viral on Facebook, the Australian government has stolen all of the money from recent TV channel fundraising campaigns designed to help drought-stricken farmers.
The message alleges that the government has taken charge of the funds and farmers who have not completed tax returns or owe tax money will not receive any of the money raised.
However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. The Australian Government does not control the distribution of funds raised during non-government fundraising campaigns.
Channel 9 has dismissed the claims via a post on the Today Facebook page. The post notes that all funds raised will go directly to farmers:
Moreover, there are no credible news or farm organization reports that support the claims in the circulating message. Of course, if the government was actually taking money raised via charitable campaigns and withholding it from farmers, then the issue would be extensively covered by the mainstream news media.
To reiterate, the Australian Government is not commandeering funds raised for drought relief by television stations or other organizations.
The Australian Government does provide various assistance measures for farmers, some of which are administered via Centrelink. Farmers who apply for Centrelink or other government assistance will be assessed for eligibility on an individual basis.
The Australian Federal Government and various state governments have received criticism for their response to the devastating drought that is currently impacting Australian farmers. However, farm organizations have welcomed recent new government initiatives that may help assist drought-stricken farmers.
A problem with this type of nonsensical post is that it may stop people from donating money to help farmers when they desperately need it. If this false message comes your way, please let the person who posted it know the information it contains is untrue.
An example of the message: