PHOTOS: Farmers, Mayor Deliver 125,000 Petition Signatures to Asahi Group Demanding the Beverage Giant Stop Bottling Tiny Victorian Town’s Water

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October 12, 2018

Residents supported by consumer group SumOfUs are now urging Premier Daniel Andrews to step in to protect local agriculture from commercial water extraction

SOUTH MELBOURNE — Earlier today fruit growers and residents from the small North East Victorian town of Stanley delivered over 125,000 petition signatures to the headquarters of Asahi Group calling for the beverage giant to stop bottling and selling their town’s only source of water.

Every week, hundreds of thousands of litres of groundwater is pumped from beneath Stanley, near Beechworth, which is then trucked away to be bottled and sold by Asahi Beverages, owner of brands Schweppes, Gatorade and Frantelle. The small community and Indigo Shire Council have been fighting the water mining for more than four years.

View the petition here: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/asahi-stop-bottling-stanley-s-water

Petition delivery participants then drove to Parliament to deliver 1200 letters to Premier Daniel Andrews and Water Minister Lisa Neville calling for changes to the Water and Planning Acts to give community’s greater say over their water.  

View photos here: http://bit.ly/asahi_photos

“A corporation as big as Asahi is used to getting its own way - they don’t expect tiny communities like Stanley to fight back and they certainly don’t expect that over 125,000 people from around the world will back them” said Nick Haines, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs “But this is bigger than just Stanley. When fly-by-night operators can suck up local water and sell it off to multinationals - and the local community has no say - then it’s proof that our water laws are broken.”

 

Quote attributable to Ed Tyrie, Chair of Stanley Rural Community Inc:

 

“Our community is totally reliant on groundwater. We are in the middle of one of the driest years in the last decade and yet still the water trucks come, week in and week out. Asahi can always source water from the next bore in a neighbouring shire, but if our water dries up so, too, does our little

community’s livelihood and our 150-year-old horticultural heritage.”

 

 

Quote attributable to Jenny O’Connor, Mayor of Indigo Shire:

 

“Our Indigo Shire Council has done everything in its power to stop this water mining and it’s still not enough. Whichever party wins November’s State election needs to close the gaps in Victoria’s Water and Planning Acts to prevent this kind of reckless water mining happening all across the state. Every day this goes on it is taking water away from high-value food production.”