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Frackman premieres to 'anti-CSG auction'

Dean Sewell

Reporter: Kirsty Needham

Photo: Dean Sewell

Film director Richard Todd first encountered Frackman at a noisy anti-coal seam gas rally outside NSW Parliament in February 2011.

Former Sydney construction worker turned Queensland farmer Dayne Pratzky, aka Frackman, rose to national prominence in the fight against CSG donning a gas mask and white contamination suit.

The Frackman documentary had its official premiere at the Byron Bay Film Festival on Saturday, as CSG flares as a vote changer in three northern NSW electorates.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley took the Labor campaign bus to Lismore, Ballina and Tweed last week to shout that a Labor government would permanently ban CSG in the Northern Rivers. These Nationals seats are at serious risk of falling.

The Baird government shot back, cancelling two vast northern CSG licences.

On March 25, three days out from the election, Frackman will screen in inner city Newtown, hotly contested by Labor and the Greens.

On Friday, Premier Mike Baird cancelled the CSG licence covering metropolitan Sydney, including inner city St Peters, saying he was "cleaning up Labor's mess".

The Greens, which want CSG completely banned, welcomed the "anti-CSG auction".

At the film's screening, activists Get Up! and Lock the Gate will encourage the audience to take action – switch energy providers, divest from financial institutions – according to briefing notes from the film's producers.

Murkier, though, is how this unashamedly activist film will motivate people to vote.

When Frackman was protesting on Macquarie Street in 2011, Labor was in government, and had issued CSG exploration licences across the state.

Since then, the public backlash against CSG has widened to such an extent that a doorknock in Baird's Manly electorate last weekend found four out of five of people surveyed want water and farmland protected from CSG exploration.

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