"Frackman" film follows 'fracking' activist

Declan Bush, AUGUSTA MARGARET RIVER TIMES
‘Frackman’ Dayne Pratzky protests against coal-seam gas mining in Tara, Queensland. INSETS: Filming the Frackman documentary. Pictures: Andrew Quilty

Margaret River film director Richard Todd says his long-awaited Frackman documentary will be screened in WA in April.

The film depicts pig shooter-turned-activist Dayne Pratzsky's five-year fight against the multibillion-dollar coal-seam gas "fracking" industry.

Fracking refers to hydraulic fracturing, where trapped gas is mined with a high-pressure mixture of sand, water and chemicals - a practice many activists fear could lead to wholesale contamination of groundwater supplies.

Todd said the film's world premiere would be at the Byron Bay Film Festival on March 7, just ahead of the NSW State election.

He said the filmmakers would tour country towns along the east coast before planned WA screenings and would carry the anti-fracking message to voters.

"Broome, Perth and Margaret River are definitely on the list," he said.

Todd said Queensland's fracking debate had made other States more cautious about allowing the practice.

"It's a good time to open up the debate," he said.

"NSW looks like they are trying to go a little bit slower. They don't want to go down the same path as Queensland."

Todd said his team was surprised at gas export approvals in Queensland.

"The contracts that were signed for gas to be exported out of Gladstone had been rushed through without the usual rigorous environmental scrutiny," he said.

"We interviewed a lady that was involved with the actual process.

"She basically quit her job because she was given an ultimatum to make sure those contracts were passed at all costs."

The filmmaker said the coal-seam gas industry divided communities.

"The circus leaves and they've got to clean up the mess," Todd said.

"It's important that people just realise there has to be a lot more science before people decide if they are going to let it go ahead."`

Todd said Australia was risking its environment for export revenue.

"In America, they mined the gas so they could use the gas," he said. "In Australia, the gas has predominantly been exported.

"We're risking clean air, clean water and good agriculture for gas we're not even going to use if it goes ahead.

"There are alternatives."

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