August 15, 2018
As Australia Faces Prospect of Worst Drought in Half a Century, Over 87,000 Demand Beverage Giant Asahi Stop Bottling Victorian Town’s Water
Thousands Express Solidarity with Residents of Stanley, Who Lost Supreme Court Case After Challenging Legality of Water Mining Operations in the Town
MELBOURNE—A new petition signed by more than 87,000 members of global consumer group SumOfUs is supporting residents of the small village of Stanley in Victoria’s North East and demanding multinational beverage giant Asahi-Schweppes stops bottling the town’s water.
VIEW THE SUMOFUS PETITION HERE: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/asahi-stop-bottling-stanley-s-water
Every week, water miners pump hundreds of thousands of litres of groundwater from the town, which is then trucked away to be bottled and sold by Asahi Beverages - owner of brands Schweppes, Frantelle and Gatorade. Residents of the town and Indigo Shire Council have been fighting the water extraction for more than four years.
Earlier this year, the community was ordered to pay $90,000 in legal fees after residents were denied leave to appeal in the Supreme Court’s previous decisions allowing the water extraction.
Nick Haines, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs, explains:
“We urge Asahi to respect the food producers of Stanley and immediately stop sourcing water from the area. Without having conducted full hydrological surveys, no one knows exactly how much water lies beneath the Stanley Plateau. But what is beyond doubt is that if it dries up, it’ll be the fruit and nut farmers of Stanley who will suffer - and not Asahi who will simply pack up and send their water trucks elsewhere.
“The huge interest in this petition should signal to Asahi that consumers are awake to the tricks pulled by powerful corporations who try to ride roughshod over communities impacted by their operations."
Ed Tyrie, chairman of Stanley Rural Community Inc, added:
“This is no longer just a fight between us and Asahi, but now tens of thousands of people who have joined us to stand up against this corporate bullying. We hope that Asahi will finally listen to the concerns we have been raising and leave Stanley’s water in the ground.”
Jenny O’Connor, Mayor of Indigo Shire, added:
“This is about a tiny rural community taking on a multinational with basically unlimited resources. Water is the most precious thing we have and diverting it away from food production, in a region reliant on agriculture, is unconscionable.
“Indigo Shire will continue to challenge this irresponsible use of water.”
For more information or for interview with a SumOfUs spokesperson or Stanley community member, please contact Yasmina Dardari at firstname.lastname@example.org.
# # #
SumOfUs is a global consumer group that campaigns to hold big corporations accountable. Over 10 million people have taken over 50 million actions worldwide with SumOfUs since it launched.