Kingscliff Cinema owner Stephen Buge.
Kingscliff Cinema owner Stephen Buge. Blainey Woodham

Kingscliff cinema saved after community outcry

A KINGSCLIFF cinema which was on the brink of closure due to a telco bungle has had its phone line reconnected following outcry from the community.

Cinemax Kingscliff owner Stephen Buge had been locked in the middle of a dispute involving Telstra and NBN which saw the cinema's phone line disconnected for more than six weeks.

The lack of a phone meant older residents who didn't have access to the cinema's website were unable to call up for session times and believed the cinema had closed.

Mr Buge said the bungle had been a "disaster" for business, with most sessions filled by just two or three people.

The Tweed Daily News reported on the issue last week while a campaign to have the phone line fixed was launched on popular Facebook page Kingscliff Happenings.


Federal MP Justine Elliot later stepped in and raised the issue with Telecommunications Minister Bridget McKenzie and Telstra Chief Executive Andrew Penn.

At 12.05pm yesterday, the phone line was switched back on, with Mr Buge and his family popping a bottle of champagne in celebration.

"The level of support has been amazing, we had three ladies come down one day and they'd already seen the movie and they said they were coming again to support us," Mr Buge said.

"Things like that really get to you, the community has been wonderful and I'd like to thank everyone, we're a little cinema and I've realised how important these people are to our business, it's fantastic.

"Endless people have helped us, we're very happy."

Mr Buge said before the phone line was reconnected, spirits at the cinema had been dwindling.  

"Its been tough mate, opening the door every day with screenings of just two people, then when we came to download our movies on Wednesday we couldn't as we didn't have a fast enough internet speed," he said.

"When you don't have full capacity it's really hard."

But Mr Buge said everything was now running smoothly and he even received a call from NBN this morning ensuring everything was working.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot told the Tweed Daily News she was just doing her job by raising the issue.

"It's my job to advocate for constituents who have problems, I made representations to the Minister of Communications and the CEO of Telstra and I am pleased for the owners and patrons of the cinema that they are fully operational and their problems are resolved," she said.

"It was a complete disaster they were in and it is outrageous to have a business put up with this situation that impacts them and their capacity to carry out their work.

"I know the fantastic experience they provide there so I'm very pleased for them and if anyone has any similar problems I'm happy to advocate for them in parliament and provide a voice."

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