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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Musos support anti-fracking campaign with weekend gig

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 Ash Grunwald reckons a river belching methane from CSG mining isn’t safe, ever. Photo Scott Owen

Eve Jeffery

Like a scene from Mad Max meets Fern Gully, protesters made the trek to the remote property of Dayne Pratzky, at Wiembilla in the middle of the Kenya Gasfield near Tara, for Dayne’s Party last Saturday.

About 250 performers, speakers, media and guests gathered at the farm to show their support for the families living in the Kenya Gasfield of the Surat Basin.

The aim of the event was to alert the nation and world to the opposition of many residents in the area to CSG mining. Musicians Ash Grunwald, Kevin Borich, Reg Mombassa, Luke Vassella, Pete Doherty of Dog Trumpet, The Round Mountain Girls and Diana Anaid, along with many others, travelled to Wiembilla.

Protesters also sent a photo message as part of a social media campaign to show support for Jonathan Moylan. Mr Moylan has been charged by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) after allegedly sending a hoax press release to media claiming a $1.2 billion loan from ANZ to a Whitehaven Coal project had been cancelled on ethical grounds.

Mr Moylan has been charged with the making of false or misleading statements, which is a breach of the Corporations Act.

But when Echonetdaily spoke to ASIC about the charges, a spokesperson said they were yet to make an announcement and they would release information after the case went to court on July 23.

During the weekend’s party, event organisers Nick Hanlon and Amanda Shoebridge announced that they had joined forces with music promoter Annie Wright to form ‘Aussies Against Fracking,’ which will be a vehicle to enable members of the entertainment industry to voice their opposition to coal seam gas mining.

A panel of six, including Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton, also addressed the crowd and said that united, the alliance was able to shift Metgasco from the northern rivers.

‘It’s just too bad we weren’t here two years ago’, he said. ‘Maybe we could have stopped this at the start.’

The climax of the party came on Sunday morning when a group of about 30 trudged through two kilometres of bush to witness how fracking has changed a section of the Condamine River.

Removing his muso hat and donning that of the environmental activist, Ash Grunwald grabbed a wettie, board and gas mask and swam into the methane bubbles to draw attention to this aberration.

Nearby, some locals heckled the group and made threats to call the police. Some of the group said they heard gunshots as they left the area.

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  1. How sad, The Echo reduced to the same sad level as the main stream press. I ask would Nick Shand be happy with this? The two biggest environment problems in Australia are the corruption of Big Environment, and the corruption of the Media. So The Echo is now part of the problem, not part of the solution. Next time I am there I will lay a wreath in Coopers Lane in memory of Nicks dream. No longer a brave dream, just another cowardly publication.


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