“Gippsland Is Precious”

Monday 6th May 2013

 Our precious region gets nationwide coverage

Last night Gippsland starred on national television when Channel 10's The Project featured a story on 'Gippsland is Precious', a new documentary which chronicles the increasing resistance to coal and coal seam gas mining industries encroaching on Gippsland's agricultural areas.

"It’s a highly contentious issue," said Charlie Pickering, host of The Project. "There isn't conclusive evidence - we need to know more about the effect that this has on the land - but it feels like mining's been allowed to go ahead before we actually know what it’s doing."

The documentary features Australian farmers whose lives and industries have been heavily impacted by the activities of coal and coal seam gas companies and will have its Gippsland premiere on Friday May 10 at the Old Drouin Butter Factory Theatre. The film was also premiered in Melbourne last week along with a solidarity campaign by concerned city activists from Friends of the Earth, part of the growing wave of concern in the big smoke about the contentious mining issue.

Friends of the Earth activist Jessie Gartlan said the documentary was “heart rending but it was absolutely necessary that people see what is happening to food producers across the country, and how metropolitan residents can support them.” The campaign arose as people in Gippsland became more vocal and organised in their opposition to the expansion of coal and coal seam gas industries in Victoria.

“Coal and invasive gas mining industries have destroyed communities in Queensland and New South Wales. Communities in Gippsland understand this and are aware that the exploration licenses over their properties pose the same threat. The emerging resistance here is undeniable,” she said.

“We want farmers and rural communities to know they have our support in standing up against the expansion of destructive coal and coal seam gas industries that are threatening their well-being, their ability to produce Victoria’s food supply, and their way of life,” she said.

The Melbourne campaigners added that stopping these industries was in their own best interests too. “Coal Seam Gas and Coal mine expansion doesn’t just affect rural communities” said Quit Coal member Madeleine Egan. “Gippsland produces 23% of Australia’s milk, milk we drink every day in the city. So much of our beef, potatoes and other produce come from areas directly threatened. And some of these gas exploration licenses cover Melbourne’s drinking water catchment areas. If something goes wrong and that water gets contaminated during the mining process, where does that leave us?”

Strzelecki farmer Ray Boys took the train down to Melbourne to attend the premiere. “It’s so good to see so many people from the city interested in the issue. We need help from people in the city to stop these industries before they wreck it all. You can’t eat coal seam gas."

A You Tube video of The Project's story on Gippsland is Precious can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cWtVvOVhcY

Gippsland is Precious will have it’s local premiere at the Old Drouin Butter Factory Theatre, 1 Main South Road, Drouin on May 10 at 7pm. Entry is by gold coin donation.


For more information contact:

Maude Farrugia (Media Liaison) madelinelizabeth@hotmail.com

Ph: 0417 303 389

Ursula Alquier (Spokesperson) csgfreepoowong@hotmail.com

Ph: 0499 991 324


For more information on coal seam gas or the Victorian campaign visit:

 www.lockthegate.org.au  or  www.quitcoal.org.au/helplockthegate