THE man at the centre of Frackman the movie relocated from his home in Tara, Queensland, to Forster after a five-year battle against the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry.
Dayne Pratzky, who hopes to build a home at Smiths Lake, said he was saddened but not surprised to find CSG battles underway nearby at Gloucester.
“There’s nowhere in the country that’s safe from it and we should be safe from extractive industries in our home,” he said.
In Frackman, Dayne’s five-year campaign against the CSG activity in Tara was documented by filmmakers. The film will be premiering in Tuncurry at Great Lakes Cinema on March 27.
I love the Forster area, that’s why I moved here. The lake’s amazing. It’s a great tourism area and we don’t want CSG to destroy that.Frackman (Dayne Pratzky)
Dayne said he hoped that people would walk away from the film convinced that CSG exploration should not be taking place.
“People love where they live. I love the Forster area, that’s why I moved here. The lake’s amazing,” he said.
“It’s a great tourism area and we don’t want CSG to destroy that.”
Dayne had purchased a 250 acre ‘tree change’ property in Queensland in 2004 and entered into an access agreement with natural gas producer QGC in 2009. Within weeks, he said he had torn up that agreement and began a campaign against CSG in his local area.
His concerns about the industry ranged from noise to health impacts.
“It was mainly the kids – we saw rashes and nosebleeds. And then there were dogs turning up with
cancers – mostly the female dogs for some reason. But the worst thing was the stress and the depression. You never knew when they were going to knock on your door and then you’d have to fight it,” he said.
“People around it suffered heartache and a lot of pain.”
Queensland Government’s health department conducted a study into CSG in the Tara region from July to November 2012 after complaints that “a small number of residents had complained of various symptoms including headaches, eye irritations, nose bleeds and skin rashes”.
The resulting report, based on the clinical and environmental monitoring data available, “found no clear link between emissions from CSG activities and health complaints from residents”, but recommended a better air monitoring program to identify the impacts of CSG on air quality. The report acknowledged the social impact of CSG on the community and found that the impact of noise and vibration needed further investigation.
After five years of campaigning, Dayne said he had found himself worn out and in need of a break. He sold his Tara property and relocated to Forster. Now he has found himself at the centre of an anti-CSG movement that is rapidly expanding.
Dayne said he wasn’t surprised by the swell of support that resulted in the film being shown in cinemas in larger population centres including Sydney and Melbourne.
“Five years ago, I used to speak in community halls with 20 people in them, now we have premieres with 460 people in seats and another 50 people having to be turned away,” he said.
“People are starting to understand what it means for everyone – personally and for their country.”
Seeing his personal story on the big screen was hard, he said, and he had only managed to sit through it once, but he said he was glad his experience was inspiring others.
“I want to see a total ban in NSW,” he said.
“Until I get it, I’ll keep going.”