Water for People, not for Coal

Water for People, not for Coal Frontline Action on Coal have marked World Water Day with a two-part action in Townsville, hanging a massive banner from the town's iconic water tank, then delivering a letter to AECOM's office calling on the 'ethical, sustainable' company to drop its Adani contract.

At 6am today, on World Water Day, activists with Frontline Action on Coal hung a large banner from Townsville’s iconic water tank, reading “Water for People, not for Coal”.

Banner reading 'Water for People, Not for Coal'

“The allocation of gigalitres of clean water to a dirty coal mine in the world’s driest inhabited continent is an outrage that cannot stand” said Hayley Sestokas, spokesperson for the group.

The water license granted to controversial coal magnate Adani by the Palaszczuk government in March 2017 has incensed North Queenslanders, especially graziers who themselves pay per litre for access to ground water.

The banner refers to the essential role of water in sustaining human life, and also to the community partner of US engineering giant AECOM, Water for People. AECOM have come under increasing pressure to cancel their contract with Adani to design a railway from Abbot Point to the Galilee basin proposed mine site. The company cancelled 16 of their planned 19 graduate recruitment sessions over the last month due to anti-Adani protests at Australian campuses.

“On one hand AECOM is in partnership with Water for People, an organisation whose aim is to guarantee access to clean water to the 2 billion people who currently lack this basic human right. On the other hand, AECOM remains in partnership with Adani, who have already polluted our waterways, and who will strip native title holders and farmers alike of access to clean water” said Ms Sestokas.

At 10am, members of Frontline Action on Coal presented a letter at AECOM’s offices in Townsville calling on CEO Michael Burke to withdraw the company’s contract with Adani. The activists spoke with staff and posed with a banner before delivering their letter.

Together with other Stop Adani and water rights groups across Australia, Frontline Action on Coal have vowed to continue peaceful direct actions at AECOM offices and work sites.


“We are asking AECOM to walk the talk, and to put into practice the ‘core values’ they espouse: "to protect our planet so that, together, we can realize our dream of a better worldsaid Ms Sestokas.

Photos of both actions can be found here

Watch the video of the banner drop here!


Our letter to AECOM's CEO is here:


22nd March 2018

Mr. Micheal Burke,

Chief Executive Officer


Level 5, 7-13 Tomlins Street

South Townsville, QLD 4810



To Mr. Micheal Burke,


On this World Water Day, we are appealing to you to withdraw your contract and support for Adani’s Carmichael project. On your website you declare yourself to have values consistent with providing sustainable development in an environmentally responsible way. Such values are incompatible with your contract with Adani.

It’s one thing to imagine a better world. It is another thing to collaborate with a company who seeks openly to destroy it. Adani’s track record is marred with environmental vandalism, human rights abuses and corporate corruption. 

As you should well be aware, Adani has in the past been responsible for gross environmental breaches in India, as well as more recently polluting the adjacent Caley Valley wetlands with a release of contaminated water from Abbot Point coal terminal. Adani does not have the consent of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional owners, nor the support of a growing majority of Australians.

If the Carmichael project was to proceed, it will have serious and irreversible impacts on ground water and the Great Artesian Basin. This would put increasing pressure on nearby farmers and townships. Access to clean water is more than a human right, it is integral to life itself. Without this, many farmers will not have the ability to put food on the table or make an honest living.

AECOM takes pains to present itself as an ethical company concerned with the betterment of humanity, but to involve yourself with Adani’s Carmichael project casts serious doubt on that image. People all over Australia, people who genuinely respect the need for sustainability, who genuinely respect human rights, are already mobilising to stop this project. Now is the time for you show us whether AECOM holds such values in earnest, or whether they are just a hollow marketing ploy.

Downer EDI have pulled out of their contract, Aurizon have withdrawn their application for the NAIF loan, and numerous financial institutions have refused to loan Adani money on principle alone.

We await your announcement. The matter is too urgent to allow us to be patient.


Yours sincerely,

Frontline Action on Coal