Frackman falling flat where gas is on the go
June 5th, 2015
The Frackman reckons his movie is going well in coastal towns like Byron Bay and in parts of inner Sydney; but it is falling flat where gas development is actually planned or underway.
Only 29 people turned up to see ‘Frackman the Movie’ when it had its one-night-only screening in Coonabarabran on 29 May. This followed a total of only 120 people turning out in Narrabri and Gunnedah in the politically timed release of the film in the lead-up to the NSW State election in March.
In the case of the Coonabarabran screening, the planned Pilliga project in the area was apparently of little concern to hundreds of farmers and horse lovers, who had gathered in the town for the annual Equestrian Expo. Despite pre-publicity in local newspapers and activist furphies about claimed interference with the Siding Springs Observatory, the movie failed to attract a crowd.
To the south, only a small group appears to have registered a day ahead of the Frackman screening in Gloucester, close to AGL’s Waukivory pilot project.
The low numbers attending screenings at these sites suggests that activists have seriously overcooked the supposed level of concern among locals.
The NSW election told the same story. Yes, Greens candidates in two seats in Sydney and on the NSW north coast made jam out of the “end of the world is nigh” message spread by anti-fossil fuel activist groups. But they had little impact near Narrabri and Gloucester.
And then there is south-western Queensland, where natural gas has created an economic boom in a number of towns which had been in steady decline until the gas industry injected some investment into the region six or seven years ago and gave young people a reason to stay instead of leaving the area.
It all makes the claim of an ‘overwhelming groundswell’ of opposition seem just a little over-reaching.