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Film decision hurts business

Saturday, 6th August, 2011

“I WOULDN’T HAVE DONE IT”: Publican John Groenendijk says he regrets forking out $65,000 for a food catering van to feed the crew of Mad Max 4. “I WOULDN’T HAVE DONE IT”: Publican John Groenendijk says he regrets forking out $65,000 for a food catering van to feed the crew of Mad Max 4.

By Kurtis Eichler

A local catering manager says the decision by the producers of Mad Max 4: Fury Road to not film here had hurt his business.

Publican John Groenendijk invested $65,000 in a catering van, equipped with stoves, ovens and other kitchen appointments.

Even though Fury Road production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell was bringing caterers from Sydney, the workload would have been enough to keep them all busy, he said.

Mr Groendijk said he would not have bought the van if he knew the film wasn’t  coming to town.

“I wouldn’t have done it,” the businessman said. “We’re getting a little bit of work now but it’s just going to sit here now more than it should.”

Mr Groenendijk, who has been in the hospitality industry for 25 years, said he was disappointed at the decision.

He said just the “handful” of crew who were stationed in the city for pre-production was enough to increase business.

“We got a taste of what it would be like when they came here for pre-production.

“I’ve always considered Mad Max to be a bonus - the cream on the top. It would have been nice to have.”

Old Willyama Motor-Inn owner Fran Stacey expressed her disappointment at the news but said her business had not been badly affected.

“It’s a shame,” she said. “We’d only given them a few rooms. It was fairly well divided up amongst (accommodation providers).”

Red Earth Motel owner Michael Baldwin said the crew who planned on staying at his motel would have been a bonus.

He said after the first postponement last October, when the film company decided that the Mundi Mundi Plains were too green, he had only let them book four rooms.

“We didn’t want to disappoint our regular customers,” he said.

A call to Kennedy Miller Mitchell co-producer Doug Mitchell was answered by his secretary who said there was nothing else to report.

She described the situation as “disappointing” for Broken Hill.

“It doesn’t look like Mad Max town anymore. 

“At this stage it’s a shame about Broken Hill and it’s back to the drawing board.”

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