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People’s Republic Of Mallacoota: The Poisoned Chalice (S1EP3 ABC TV Tues 19 April 2022)

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People's Republic Of Mallacoota

The Poisoned Chalice: In this episode, as winter draws in, a housing crisis looms in Mallacoota. Many residents are still living in sheds or couch-surfing. Covid has slammed the brakes on the recovery and there’s a massive shortage of building materials and tradies. It’s dawning on the residents just how long the recovery is going to take. Some are becoming disillusioned and bitter.

Artist Don Ashby is doing his damnedest to stay positive by building his new house with his own hands. Teacher Jess Van Swol has bought a new block of land but frustratingly can’t afford to build on it. The family of real estate agent Kerri Warren are stalled in endless negotiations with their insurance company. Nothing is happening quickly.

For the twelve volunteers elected to the Mallacoota & District Recovery Association (MADRA), who were keen to harness the goodwill and optimism that greeted their election, it’s an all too familiar story. Even with ex-naval officer Jenny Lloyd at the helm, the inexperienced team are soon mired in red tape, overwhelmed by their workload and weighed down by public expectation.

As the Covid lockdown ends, the town emerges from the fog of its enforced isolation and tourists begin to fill the empty campgrounds. Mallacoota’s economy is heavily reliant on the summer tourist trade but residents are fearful that the visitors will bring Covid with them. As the first anniversary of the bushfire looms, the town’s mental health remains fragile.

Airdate: Tuesday 19 April 2022 at 8.00pm on ABC TV.

Season 1 Episode 3

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