Opponents of the booming coal seam gas industry will give their protests a cultural bent this weekend.
The Lock the Gate campaign against CSG will hold a Rock the Gate festival in the small Queensland town of Tara, the scene of an ongoing blockade against attempts by gas company QGC to build a pipeline onto a residential estate.
Organisers promise a concert, entertainment, forums, workshops and a chance to see first hand the “devastation” caused by the CSG industry.
Friends of the Earth spokesman Drew Hutton said Rock the Gate would showcase the determined resistance of a small community to a destructive industry.
Among the performers are John Gordon, who will perform his controversial anti-coal mining protest song Australia (Whore of the World), and protest songwriter and performer Penelope Swales, both
appearing on Saturday evening.
Mr Hutton said the campaign by Tara residents and their supporters was a model of non-cooperation that other communities threatened by coal and coal seam gas should follow.
“The resistance to these dirty industries is growing rapidly and this will also be consolidated this weekend by the showing on national television of the US documentary Gasland,” Mr Hutton said.
The documentary, made by Josh Fox, details the consequences of CSG mining in the US, and Mr Hutton said the impact in Australia would be worse.
“I am often asked if Josh Fox’s documentary presents a different picture of the gas industry to what we have in Australia,” Mr Hutton said.
“My answer is that it is different; in fact it’s worse because in Australia we run the risk of destroying whole sections of the great Artesian Basin.”
Mr Hutton said CSG companies also did not know what they were going to do with the massive amounts of water and salt they were extracting from the coal seam aquifers.
Gasland will be screened on SBS on Sunday at 9.30pm (AEST).