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Byron Shire
April 16, 2021

Groundswell of support for people power doco

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View from the top of the tripod at Bentley's Gate A protest site. Photo Jeff Dawson
View from the top of the tripod at Bentley’s Gate A protest site. Photo Jeff Dawson

Concerned citizens are voicing their opposition to coal seam gas mining by supporting a documentary about the grassroots campaign to boot ‘a big, dirty industry’ out of the northern rivers and keep the region gasfield free.

‘We’ve had a great start with amazing support but we need to keep pushing because we have an incredible story on our hands here,’ said Brendan Shoebridge, the director of the film The Bentley Effect.

‘Bentley was the frontline for the entire region. But more than that, it has enormous global significance. The northern rivers has become a leading light in the worldwide movement against invasive mining and fossil fuels.’

But with Metgasco hoping to resume operations in the northern rivers, the fight seems far from over. Residents have been alarmed by the extensive spread of gasfields just over the border in Queensland and with the $75 billion Gladstone export terminal soon to come online, all eyes are on the NSW government to act on the call to cancel licences and protect the region.

‘All it takes is for the industry to get a foothold somewhere. That’s why the community’s stand at Bentley was so important – it was an historic showdown and a major tipping point,’ says Brendan.

The local filmmakers have spent the last four weeks crowdfunding the feature film, using social media, radio, newspapers, markets and film events. Their goal is to raise $87,000 to finance the post-production of the film and secure cinema distribution.

‘People everywhere have been incredibly generous with their time and money – donating stalls, organising events, selling raffle tickets for us, and giving what they can. With thirty thousand dollars raised in under a month, the project is now a reality but we’re going to need more help to do it justice,’ says Susie Forster, who is producing the film.

‘We are calling on everyone who loves our region or is concerned about the issue to rally around the project and donate to the planetfunder.org crowdfunding site. We want people to spread the campaign far and wide.

‘This is clearly a crunch moment in our history,’ says Brendan. ‘With the global Climate Summit in Paris looming, the time has never been better to show which side of the fossil-fuel argument people stand on. But more than anything, it’s time for a positive injection of our most precious commodity – hope – and that is the Bentley Effect.’

The crowdfunding campaign runs until the end of July. You can donate online via direct deposit or a credit card. Go to www.­thebentleyeffect.com for further detail.


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