Australians have all heard of the two-speed economy, but most have not directly experienced the clash of cultures, interests and values when the mining industry rolls in and flexes its politically-weighty muscle.
A new feature-length documentary, Bimblebox, takes a close look at exactly what can be won and lost, in the short and long term, through Australia’s mining boom.
Directed by Michael O’Connell, it follows the story of Paola Cassoni, a resident of Alpha, Queensland, a tiny town 500 km west of Rockhampton. Bimblebox Nature Refuge, co-owned by Cassoni, is an 8000 ha property directly in the path of Clive Palmer’s proposed ‘China First’ coal mine, which would become the world’s largest.
“This documentary was born out of the necessity,” Cassoni said, “to let the broader public know that our bush, our communities, our farms and our waters are going through a radical transformation.”
“It shows the daily battles and frustrations of ordinary people in dealing with both mining corporations and an indifferent Government. It’s more than a hint that we need a new direction in energy consumption both at home and globally.”
Paola in the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, Qld
According to Friends of the Earth campaigner Ellen Roberts, “If Australia’s coal exports are included, we are the world’s sixth largest carbon emitter. We need to start taking responsibility for the climate chaos we are exporting, as well as the havoc being wreaked in Australia by coal mining.”
Emphasising the film’s local relevance, Roberts says “Victoria is the new frontier for the export coal industry. Both Premier Baillieu and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson see Victoria as ‘the new Pilbara’. From Bacchus Marsh to the outskirts of Melbourne to the rich dairy country of Gippsland coal and gas companies are planning massive open cut coal mines and gas wells.”
Bimblebox has its first screening in Victoria as part of the upcoming EFFM.
Festival Director Nicholas Aberle says the film “encourages the audience to question the impacts of the mining boom on individual livelihoods, on environmental integrity and on Australia’s on-going moral responsibility for the coal we export.”
Bimblebox is screening at the Kino Cinemas on Collins St, on Sunday, September 9th at 4pm. The EFFM 2012 runs from 4th to 9th September.