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17 November 2017

REISSUED NE Region Water Forum


Date: November 23, 2017

Time: 6pm-7:30pm

Where: George Kerferd Hotel, Oak Avenue, Mayday Hills (Beechworth)


MEDIA STATEMENT: October 24, 2017

COMMUNITY groups and three shire councils in Beechworth on November 23 will host a public forum about the recent expansion of commercial groundwater extraction in the North East to supply fill for the bottled water business.

Waterwise Stanley, Myrtleford and District Landcare and Sustainability Group, Plasticwise Yackandandah and Plasticwise Indigo have been supported by Indigo, Alpine and Towong shire councils to enable people to hear from writer, adventurer and nature awareness campaigner Huw Kingston and to discuss the impact of groundwater extraction and plastics pollution.

Mr Kingston in 1992 devised for a major adventure travel company a campaign called ‘Don’t bag the environment’ – encouraging its customers to say ‘no’ to the use of plastic and paper bags.

He went on to champion a move by the small New South Wales Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon, where he lives, to become the world's first bottled water-free community in 2009.

He was subsequently named one of Time magazine’s 25 ‘Worldwide responsibility pioneers’ and continues to work with numerous communities across the world tackling water and related environmental challenges.

Indigo mayor Jenny O'Connor said her council had joined with neighbouring Alpine and Towong councils to explore ways to devise a shared policy by which the effects of commercial groundwater extraction for other than agricultural and community use might be managed.

“There are many of us in communities in this region who are concerned about the impact of all aspects of the bottled water industry on agriculture, community infrastructure and our environment," Cr O’Connor said.

Plasticwise Yackandandah's Francesca Ciantar said North East communities were deeply concerned about the consequent effects of pollution from plastics used by the bottled water industry.

“The common goal of Plasticwise groups, which are gaining momentum across Australia, is to inspire and support local communities to be more waste- and plastic-wise,” she said.

“Our first successful project saw FoodWorks Yackandandah go single-use plastic bag-free from June this year.

“We’re finding that collaborations across communities – between the people who live and the businesses that work in them – have an essential role to play.

“Another huge problem is extraction of groundwater for use by the bottled water industry and the effect this is having on interconnected waterways, agriculture, infrastructure and environment.

“This is an issue that challenges communities across Australia, and it is essential we find better ways to manage and protect our country's most basic of resource: our water.”

For more information or interviews please contact:

Jenny O'Connor

Mayor, Indigo Shire Council

M 0417 126 409



Ron Janas

Mayor, Alpine Shire

M 0417 305 196



Francesca Ciantar

Plasticwise Yackandandah

M 0421 905 868




For further information:
Contact Cr Jenny O'Connor
Phone 0417 126 409