IN a motion of solidarity with NSW farmers who could face coal seam gas exploration in the near future, the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange (ECCO) will screen An Occupied Country at a public meeting tonight.
Following a group of Narrabri farmers who are readying themselves for coal seam gas (CSG) exploration in their own backyards, the documentary from former ABC producer turned independent filmmaker Jake Lloyd Jones documents their week-long fact-finding mission in central Queensland, hearing from farmers and communities who are experiencing the effects of CSG mining.
While there are no CSG-related activities planned for the Orange region, Mr Lloyd Jones hopes to raise awareness and build a network of support for those farmers around the state who could face CSG mining companies in the near future.
“Farmers don’t have other people to back them up, farmers only have other farmers,” Mr Lloyd Jones said.
“When you go up to Queensland, you realise how dominant and powerful mining companies are. [The farmers] were very disappointed with the National Party. They felt like they hadn’t represented the farmers, that they were representing the mining companies.
“It’s very scary how quickly the government has sold the farmers out.”
The documentary, funded by Mr Lloyd Jones himself, has not been offered to a broadcasting company for nation-wide screening because it is a “local documentary for local people”.
“I want to show it in places like Orange, in community halls to get people talking and help inform them,” he said. “I think farmers in the region would be quite annoyed at how their colleagues down the road are being treated.”
Mr Lloyd Jones will lead a discussion after the screening of the film, which will begin at 7.30pm at the Environmental Learning Facility at Orange Showground on Leeds Parade. Members of the public are welcome to attend, and entry is a gold coin donation.