eFlash #569

eFlash #569

eFlash #569
Date: 15-Jun-2023

Information for Water Industry Managers and Practitioners in the Queensland Water Industry


Message from new CEO Dr Georgina Davis | It's time to reward your Operators - award nominations close soon! | Annual Forum 2023: Celebrating 20 Years | Important SWIM News | Guidelines for Potentially Explosive Atmospheres | Water Occupations Under Review | Recycled Water Workshop | DES Engagement Survey | Landfill Levy Updated for 1 July | Review of Powers and Penalties within EP Act | Temporary Authorities are Now Available | Higher Electricity Prices for Regional Queensland | Sustainable Liquid Fuel Strategy | Queensland Urban Water Explorer Launched | Queensland Government Budget 2023/24 Update 


1. Message from new CEO Dr Georgina Davis

It was with pleasure that I commenced with the Directorate on 29 May. Since arriving I have seen firsthand the dedication and knowledge of the qldwater team in action, with the Skills Forum on 8 June and an SPG meeting on 9 June. I have also had the pleasure of getting to know some of our members and partners (government and industry) and, importantly, engaging in conversations concerning the current challenges and opportunities for the water sector.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of qldwater. Look out for a number of events celebrating this legacy and the journey of the water sector during this time. We plan to make this year’s Annual Forum one to remember as we reflect on the past decades and look to the future of the sector.  

I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude to Linda Roberts for maintaining business continuity and a happy team during her extended period as Interim CEO. It is no mean feat to undertake two jobs concurrently, particularly when both roles demand so much. I have joined an amazing team and a well-developed, much respected organisation delivering numerous essential services for the water sector, and I am looking forward to the future.  

2. It's time to reward your Operators! 

Time is running out to nominate your staff for the Young Operator and Operator of the Year (Civil All Rounder) Awards!

Every year qldwater sponsors the QLD Young Operator of the Year and QLD Operator of the Year (Civil All Rounder) Awards at the Water Industry Operators Association of Australia (WIOA) Queensland Conference.

Nominations for these awards will close next Monday, 19 June 2023. 

The QLD Young Operator of the Year Award aims to provide encouragement to young water industry employees, to recognise excellent performance, initiative and all-round attention to detail.

To be eligible for consideration the nominees must be employed in the Queensland water industry for less than 4 years, aged under 30 years and be responsible for operating community or industrial water and wastewater treatment plants, operation and maintenance or construction of water and wastewater reticulation networks etc.

The QLD Operator of the Year (Civil All Rounder) Award aims to provide encouragement to water industry employees employed in the civil construction/maintenance areas of the water industry to recognise excellent performance, initiative and all-round attention to detail.

Nominees should be employed in Queensland and should have direct responsibility for the operation and maintenance or construction of water and wastewater reticulation networks.

The winners will receive a perpetual trophy for his or her organisation to keep for 12 months, a personal trophy to keep permanently and a sponsored professional development trip.

The 2023 winners will be announced at the 47th WIOA Queensland Water Industry Operations Conference & Exhibition to be held at the University of Southern Queensland – USQ Stadium in Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast on Thursday 20 July 2023.

Nomination forms can be found here.

If you haven't registered for the event yet, follow this link. WIOA Members can use the Promo Code: WIOA-Member to unlock a 25% discount on their Delegate fees. Delegate Registrations close COB Friday 14 July 2023.

3. Annual Forum 2023 

With the 2023 Water Connections Tour and Skills Forum now behind us, all eyes are focused on the 2023 Annual Forum to be held on 5-7 September with the theme 20/20 Vision: Raising the profile of the urban water industry in celebration of our 20-year anniversary. 

This year the event will take place in Toowoomba at the same time as the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, so please ensure that you book accommodation as soon as possible. The event will take place at the Clifford Park Racecourse.

The Forum will kick off with a couple of site tours on Tuesday 5 September, starting a little bit later in the day to ensure those traveling from Brisbane and further afield can get there in the morning. 

On Wednesday, 6 September we will take a trip down memory lane, reflecting on the past 20 years as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Directorate and commemorate those who have paved the way. 

On the final day of the Forum we will look to the future 20 years ahead – where do we want to be and how will we get there? We all know that Business As Usual can’t solve the myriad of problems we are facing in the sector. Let’s set the agenda for Business Done Better. We look forward to seeing you there! 

4. Important SWIM News

Annual water and sewerage data SWIM reporting for 2022/23: well, it is coming up to that time of year again when annual water and sewage data is collated by Water Service Providers across the State and sent to BoM, NPR, ABS and the Qld Govt. Later this month qldwater will be sending your SWIM representative information regarding accessing and using the SWIM system. If you have had staff changes and the SWIM reporting person from last year is no long working in this position please contact qldwater at swim@qldwater.com.au so we can help set up new contact details so important information can be supplied to your organisation.

The SWIM system will be opened for reporting on 1 July 2023.

The data is due on Tuesday 3 October this year. All data is mandatory and required under legislation – PINS can be imposed for late or missing Qld Govt KPI data.

SWIM training: as there has been no changes to the annual indicators requested for the last 3 years qldwater is not planning on holding any ‘in person’ specific SWIM training sessions this year. We are more than happy to organise online or in-person meetings with anyone who wishes to do this. So, if you would like to do some SWIM training, please let David know (contact details below) and we will work out something for you.

Additionally, SWIM training videos are available from the qldwater website.

If you have any questions about SWIM please contact David Scheltinga (dscheltinga@qldwater.com.au).

5. Guidelines for Potentially Explosive Atmospheres

National and international instances of explosions or near misses in wastewater infrastructure have been on the rise. In response, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), in partnership with its members and partners (including qldwater), have developed their own internal guidance on how to manage the risk of the formation of a potentially explosive atmosphere.

The new Guidelines for Potentially Explosive Atmospheres was released on 2 June 2023. The project deliverables include:

  • Guidelines for Potentially Explosive Atmospheres 
  • A project fact sheet 
  • A quick start guide 
  • A video walkthrough of the guide 

These documents can be downloaded at https://www.wsaa.asn.au/publication/guidelines-potentially-explosive-atmospheres

The https://vimeo.com/waterservicesassociation/explosiveatmospheres?share=copy video walkthrough is available here.


6. Water Occupations Under Review 

The second round of consultation for the comprehensive review of ANZSCO will open on June 15, 2023. This is an opportunity to make a significant impact by providing feedback on selected occupations, helping shape the quality of Australia’s future occupation and labour market information.

The ABS are particularly interested in understanding what occupations have evolved, been replaced, or changed? Have skill requirements shifted over time? Are there any emerging fields or unique jobs that you believe will shape the future?

The list of occupations that will be evaluated to ensure that ANZSCO reflects a contemporary labour market cover a wide range of industries including health, construction, manufacturing, engineering and more. Importantly, it includes ‘Waste Water or Water Plant Operator’.

A submission guide will be available on the ABS Consultation Hub from June 15, outlining the steps to participate and provide feedback. All contributions to the ANZSCO review will inform and shape educational pathways, skilled migration programs and strategies that support our workforce to remain adaptable and equipped with the right skills.

qldwater, as an Industry Skills Advisor, will submit an industry response and we welcome any feedback from our members. Please send your feedback to skills@qldwater.com.au.

7. Recycled Water Workshop

The Water Supply Regulation team is conducting a Recycled Water workshop in Brisbane and via TEAMS on Thursday 22nd June.

The agenda includes an overview of the legislation and regulation that applies to recycled water as well as providing examples of recycled water schemes from service providers. The first half of the workshop will focus on recycled water generally and the second part will explain requirements associated with developing and implementing a Recycled Water Management Plan.

This event will be conducted face to face and via TEAMS so please indicate your preference in the registration form and advise RDMW if you change your preference for catering purposes.

You can register by clicking on this link.

Please forward this invitation to any other relevant people within your organisation, noting that registrations close on 14th June.

If you have any queries regarding this event, please email drinkingwater.reporting@rdmw.qld.gov.au or call (07) 3199 4856 to discuss.

8. DES Engagement Survey

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) Regional and Regulation Support team is conducting an Engagement Survey.

The survey is online, anonymous and can be accessed via this link – Engagement Survey. We also encourage you to forward this survey link onto your members or other interested parties as relevant.

The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and will help the Department to build an understanding of their effectiveness as a communicator and lead to improved stakeholder engagement opportunities that are more likely to align to your expectations.

The survey will close this Friday, 16 June 2023.

9. Landfill Levy Updated for 1 July

The Queensland Government has now applied the latest CPI rates to the levy fees and charges for 2023-2024.  Please go to the fees and charges webpage for the new levy fees commencing 1 July 2023.

10. Review of Powers and Penalties within EP Act

An independent review into the adequacy of powers and penalties available under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 has been completed and the final report provided to the Minister for the Environment and Great Barrier Reef, Science and Multicultural Affairs.

The review was initiated after floods in Ipswich last year exacerbated odour issues coming from waste facilities. Conducted by retired Judge Richard Jones and Barrister Susan Hedge, the review made 18 recommendations which have all been supported, or supported in principle, by the Government.  The recommendations aim at better preventing pollution occurring, providing appropriate tools for nuisance matters to take stronger action against polluters and better protect community health and wellbeing.  Key recommendations include:

  • Greater emphasis should be placed on the concepts of human health, wellbeing, and safety, which will protect the community. 
  • Amendments to the definitions of environmental nuisance, and material and serious environmental harm to make it clear that certain emissions, such as odour, may also be considered material or serious environmental harm. 
  • Creating a new offence of contravening the existing general environmental duty. (This will place an emphasis on prevention by operators rather than reactively waiting for harm to occur to the environment and lead to improved community safeguards while environmental harm is addressed.)
  • Ensuring environmental authority (EA) conditions remain fit for purpose, and to ensure they remain in force if an EA is cancelled or suspended. 

The government will now proceed with relevant legislative steps and consultation to implement the recommendations. The final report and government response can be found here.

11. Temporary Authorities are Now Available

Temporary authorities are a new function under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. A temporary authority to conduct an environmentally relevant activity can only be issued under certain emergency situations. These include a declared public health emergency, a declared disaster situation, a biosecurity event under emergency order and several other events. A temporary authority can be granted for a maximum period of four months.

For more information on the range of emergency situations and the application requirements please go to Business Queensland and refer to the new temporary authority application form (ESR/2023/6428).

12. Higher Electricity Prices for Regional Queensland

On Friday 9 June, the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) released the regulated retail electricity prices (notified prices) to apply in regional Queensland in 2023–24.

Typical customers on all major tariffs can expect an increase in their electricity bills in 2023–24, largely due to an increase in wholesale energy costs and (to a lesser extent) other cost components. Customers on the main residential tariffs (tariffs 11, 31 and 33) can expect to pay around 17.3 to 28.7 per cent more for electricity in 2023–24. Typical customers on the main small business tariff (tariff 20) can expect to pay around 26.8 per cent more for electricity and large business customer on tariffs 44, 45 or 46 can expect to pay around 7.5 to 16.7 per cent more for electricity in 2023–24.  Full details of the price increases and QCA reports including technical data can be downloaded on the QCA website.

13. Sustainable Liquid Fuel Strategy

Queensland is accelerating uptake of sustainable liquid fuels through development of the state’s sustainable liquid fuels strategy, a commitment under the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.

The strategy will increase use of sustainable liquid fuels as we transition from fossil-based liquid fuels to next-generation future fuels, hydrogen and electrification. The increased use of sustainable liquid fuels will play a significant role in achieving Queensland’s emissions targets of 30 per cent reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

The Queensland Government have released an options and opportunities paper (PDF, 2364.3 KB) to seek input from a broad range of stakeholders ranging from fuel users, fuel producers, and sellers across many sectors.  The paper is the first step in developing the strategy and seeks feedback on the opportunities, options, priorities, and actions informing the strategy’s development.

The Queensland Government is keen to hear from all fuel users, fuel producers, and fuel sellers to understand what’s most important for Queenslanders and for fuel-related industries.

Provide feedback to fuelstrategy@epw.qld.gov.au by 23 August 2023.

14. Queensland Urban Water Explorer Launched

The Queensland Urban Water Explorer developed by the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (RDMW) has gone live.

The updated version of the Explorer contains the 21-22 Key Performance Indicator data and can be accessed from Home | Queensland’s Urban Water Explorer.  The next update is scheduled for the 1st quarter of 2024.

Social media promotional activities for the Queensland Urban Water Explorer will commence next week on the Water Queensland Facebook page.

If you have any questions or concerns over the data please email WaterReform@rdmw.qld.gov.au.

15. Queensland Government 2023/24 Budget Update

The Queensland Government released the 2023-24 budget on 13 June, announcing $1.7 billion in funding for water infrastructure and planning. The following projects got the green light:

  • $440 million, on top of the $100 million already committed, to progress the upgrade and raising of Burdekin Falls Dam by two metres,
  • $116.4 million this year to continue pre-construction activities prior to major construction works on the Paradise Dam Improvement Project,
  • $156.7 million increased investment in Rookwood Weir,
  • $13.4 million for pre-construction work on the Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline project as part of the bigger $300 million commitment to water security in the region,
  • $15 million will flow to Toowoomba Regional Council over four years to deliver treated water to the communities of Cambooya, Greenmount, Nobby and Clifton,
  • $548.5 million to the Gladstone Area Water Board for the construction of the Fitzroy to Gladstone pipeline,
  • $11.7 million over three years for a First Nations Water Strategy to allow more culturally inclusive water planning,
  • $2.6 million for an Urban Water Risk Assessment to better understand drinking water and water security risks across regional and remote communities,
  • $8 million over two years for a detailed assessment of the water requirements for the hydrogen industry in Gladstone,
  • $7 million for Cloncurry’s water supply
  • $10.8 million contribution to the Mount Morgan Pipeline,
  • $300,000 to the State Council of River Trusts to continue to support River Improvement Trusts across Queensland,, 
  • A further $28 million investment in the Building our Regions fund to continue to strengthen and improve water and sewerage infrastructure and planning projects.


  • 19-20 July - WIOA Queensland Conference, USQ, Sunshine Coast  
  • 15 August  - AWA North Queensland Conference, Townsville 
  • 5-7 September - Annual Forum, Toowoomba 
  • 13 September - NSW Water Directorate Annual Forum, Sydney
  • 6 October - qldwater Regional Conference, Mackay
  • 9-10 November - AWA QWater, Brisbane 

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