WHEN South Australian farmer David Smith heard his community was in the sites of the fracking industry, he took out a large loan, then hired a journalist and cinematographer to find out for himself what the effects might be.
His journey took him all over the country and overseas, and his findings are presented in the feature length documentary Pipe Dreams Fractured Lives, which is coming to Fremantle’s Luna SX on July 24.
Fracking is the process of injecting a high-pressure mix of water and chemicals into rock to release the gas trapped inside tiny cracks.
It was banned in the South West last year by the WA government and a state wide moratorium is in place pending an independent scientific inquiry.
Mr Smith’s film examines the human cost of the industry and takes the audience into the homes and lives of communities and families “that have been shattered by an intrusive industry that promised great riches but delivered little more than poor health, contaminated water and broken dreams” according to Mr Smith.
Inquiry submissions were made public last week including one from oil and gas company Buru Energy which showed “flowback fluid” released during the process contains radioactive material.
Anti fracking group Lock the Gate member Jane Hammond says despite elevated levels of contaminants Boron, Barium and Chloride, and the radioactive substance radium 228, the company has proposed using the wastewater as stock water for cattle in the Kimberly.
Buru Energy says the water is not suitable for human consumption but could potentially meet stock water guidelines through dilution with bore water.
“Their other option is to re-inject this fluid into the ground,” says Ms Hammond. “This has been linked to earthquakes, a really bad idea.”
“The health department have said of the 300 chemicals used in fracking, 25 per cent are known carcinogens or mutagens and 75 per cent are causes of skin, eye, gastro intestinal and throat irritants.”
Tickets are available at https://tinyurl.com/PipeDreamsFreo and more information on Facebook FrackFreeWA.
by MOLLY SCHMIDT