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Fracking issue comes to Denmark

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2018: A documentary film made by a South Australian farmer keen to discover the real impacts of fracking is screening at the Denmark Civic Centre on Thursday, September 27 at 7pm.

Organiser of the screening, Denmark resident Barb Thayne said fracking was an issue that concerned many local people and the film highlighted the costs of the industry to regional communities, farmers and water supplies.

“The State Government will soon decide whether or not to lift a moratorium on fracking currently protecting much of WA,” Ms Thayne said.

“Fracking threatens land, water, health and climate stability and while the south coast is not yet covered by fracking leases it may be something we have to face in the future if fracking is given the greenlight in WA.

“The film shows what life is like for people forced to live in a fracking zone. It is not something we need or want to happen anywhere in WA including in our region.

“We hope that the State Government will legislate a permanent ban on fracking in WA and we have been collecting petitions in Denmark and Albany to that effect.”

The film, Pipe Dreams Fractured Lives was made by South Australian beef and lamb producer David Smith who was prompted into action after the fracking industry set its sights on his region.

Concerned at what fracking might mean to land, water and farming Smith hired a film crew and set off on a quest to uncover the real impacts of the fracking industry.

His remarkable journey saw him travel across Australia and overseas to meet people on the frontline of the fracking gasfields.

The results of that journey are told in this edge-of-the-seat new feature length documentary film which goes to the heart of the communities that lie in the fracking zones of Queensland and North America and examines the human cost of this massive industry.

David Smith is a fifth-generation farmer from south east South Australia.

 “I just come with a bucket full of determination.  Our family farm produces beef and prime lamb and relies heavily on ground water for stock water and irrigating pasture,” Smith says.

“Around 2014 the first exploration well was drilled in the SE of SA searching for unconventional gas. 

“This is plain stupid.  South Australia has less than 5 per cent of its land suitable for intensive agriculture and the SE is half of that area … it is the food bowl of South Australia.”  

Using telephone directories to call strangers living in fracking areas in the US, Smith soon had a wealth of stories to tell from people severely impacted by the fracking industry. 

He used the same approach to find his interviewees in the Queensland gasfields and he soon had the basis for a compelling documentary.

The film will screen at the Denmark Civic Centre on Thursday September 27 with doors opening at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Tickets are $10 with children under 16 admitted free.

The screening will be followed by an update on the local campaign and a Q&A with a representative from Lock the Gate in WA.