eFlash #574

eFlash #574

eFlash #574
Date: 14-Aug-2023

IN THIS EDITION: Annual Forum: Register Now! | Information Session: Workplace Exposure Standards for H2S and other chemicals | Green Card Training Course Launched | qldwater Submission to ABS on ANZSCO | Update from the Queensland Water Supply Regulator | QWater’23 Conference 


1. Annual Forum - Register Now!

The program for the Annual Forum is now complete and we are pleased with the breadth of topics to be covered. Some of the highlights include: 

  • A keynote address by William Speirs from Urban Utilities on a long-term strategy in our age of uncertainty; 
  • A panel session with past Young Operator of the Year and Operator of the Year (Civil/All rounder) award winners; 
  • Managing Capital delivery and water security risks and outcomes in a regional context by Wayne Middleton, Australian Water Business Leader at Arup; 
  • An introduction to and interactive session with the Queensland Government’s Statewide Risk Assessment Project; 
  • Local Government Water Business Innovation – the Pathway to Net Zero through the $1.5 Billion Pumped Hydro Project by Jaek Passier from Toowoomba Regional Council; 
  • A vision for QWRAP driving water industry reform by Scott Mason, Central Queensland QWRAP Coordinator; and  
  • Climate Change and its impact on water security across Queensland by David Wiskar. 

The event also includes two site tours, the TracWater Best of the Best Queensland Water Taste Test, an Awards Dinner, qldwater program updates and more. Check the registration page for more information and to register.

2. Information Session: Workplace Exposure Standards for H2S and other chemicals

In August 2021, as part of the review of the Workplace Exposure Standards for 700 chemicals, Safe Work Australia proposed new lower limits for hydrogen sulphide and chlorine (Table 1). These new limits have the potential to result in significant costs for water businesses.  

There has been a call from the urban water sector for a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) to be undertaken ahead of any change to the limits due to the concern from the industry around the cost to water businesses to implement new practices, and the proposed timeline for compliance with those limits. An RIA, if undertaken, is now the responsibility of state WHS ministers: in Queensland this falls under the purview of Minister for Industrial Relations, Grace Grace. 

qldwater has organised an information session with Brad Geinitz, Chief Advisor Occupational Health & Hygiene from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland on what compliance to WES standards looks like, and what information can be gathered by water utilities right now to understand their existing risk. This information will be very important if an RIA is undertaken in Queensland. 

This session will be held at the Eagle Farm offices and online in hybrid format and will include a Q&A session. The session is open to all staff from water utilities in Queensland, and we would invite councils to share this invitation with their Health and Safety teams. Any specific questions you would like to put to Brad can be emailed through to lreeves@qldwater.com.au until Monday 28 August, although there will be plenty of time for questions from the floor. 

What: Workplace Exposure Standards for H2S and other chemicals: What to measure and how  

When: 31 August 10:00am -12:00pm 

Where: Level 1, 6 Eagleview Place, Eagle Farm 

We would encourage any who are able to attend in person to please come and meet with Brad face-to-face. Refreshments will be provided.

Please register using this link.

3. Green Card Training Course Launched

It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of our latest online training course, the Green Card. Hosted on the watertraining.com.au website, the Green Card course is designed to provide an overview of the importance of, and requirements for minimising environmental harm when working in, on or near water, sewerage and recycled water assets.

Topics covered in this course include: 

  • Environmental legislation and contaminants, 
  • Incident awareness and preparedness, 
  • Environmentally relevant activities, 
  • Recycled water and biosolids, 
  • Your Key Responsibilities 

Thanks to everyone who contributed their time in the production of this course. The Green Card is available free of charge to all qldwater members. Contractors can complete the course for $50. We are trying a new dynamic rule which should allow all qldwater members to be automatically enrolled in the course when they log in - please email skills@qldwater.com.au if you can't access the course.

4. qldwater Submission to ABS on ANZSCO

Our submission to the Australian Bureau of Statistics regarding its comprehensive review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) to reflect the contemporary labour market isnow available on our website.  

The submission outlines several job roles not currently identified including Water Catchment Operator, Bulk Water Supply or Diversions Operator, Dam or Reservoir Operator, Water or Wastewater Networks Operator and Trade Waste Officer. There is also a need for further categorisation of the Civil Engineering Professionals Unit Group to include Civil Engineer – Water and Wastewater.

The submission concludes that the water industry is significantly undercounted in Census data due to the lack of water-specific occupational codes recognised by the ABS which adversely affects the national assessment and representation of training needs, appropriate course development to meet sector needs and understanding of levels of employment, particularly employment shortfalls and immigration visa requirements that would assist in delivering programs to attract and retain talent. 


5. Update from the Queensland Water Supply Regulator

A drinking water workshop is scheduled for 11 October in Emerald with a key focus on the revised DWQMP guideline  (Guideline for the preparation, review and audit of DWQMPs) with complementary presentations by service providers and Queensland Health. Invitations will be sent, or email drinkingwater.reporting@rdmw.qld.gov.au for more information. 

Reminder- revised DWQMP (Guideline for the preparation, review and audit of DWQMPs) applies now. 

If you are conducting a review of your DWQMP, remember to refer to the revised guideline, which includes some additional requirements for catchment categorisation, raw water quality information and customer complaints. Please contact your allocated WSR officer if you have any questions or email drinkingwater.reporting@rdmw.qld.gov.au. 

Timely reporting of incidents and investigation reports 

Over the 2022-23 financial year, the regulator identified instances of delayed reporting of drinking water incidents and events, which were non-compliant with the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008. Reporting requirements, including definitions for “immediately” and “as soon as practicable” and associated timeframes, are also provided in the information notice for the decision issued for your currently approved Drinking Water Quality Management Plan (DWQMP or the plan). 

Timely reporting is required to comply with your DWQMP and the conditions of the plan. Immediate reporting significantly reduces the risk of an adverse public health outcome and allows the regulator and Queensland Health to support and assist you from the outset. The regulator takes any delay in reporting seriously and will exercise regulatory tools as appropriate should service providers fail to comply.  

Annual reports – end of financial year 2022-2023 

The Drinking Water Quality Annual Report can be submitted any time after the end of financial year but is due by no later than COB 19 December 2023. Please refer to the guideline and be aware that, under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008, penalties may apply for late submissions. 

Review of registration details 

Service providers are required to review their registration details within 30 business days after 30 June each year and inform the regulator of any changes to their registration details. If you are unsure of your registration information, please contact your allocated WSR officer if you have any questions or email drinkingwater.reporting@rdmw.qld.gov.au. 

National Performance Reporting (NPR) update for ALL service providers 

The National Performance Reporting (NPR) Framework Indicator Review was completed late last year with the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) releasing a report containing the Review’s findings and recommendations. The report can be found at National performance reports: Water Information: Bureau of Meteorology (bom.gov.au). Since then, the Federal government, the Bureau and all States and Territories have been working together on the implementation of the Review recommendations, in particular the implementation timelines and revised indicator sets. Arising from these discussions the following has been agreed: 

Service providers with greater than 10,000 connections 

For water and sewerage service providers currently reporting for the NPR Framework (i.e., service providers with greater than 10,000 connections), the following changes to the indicators are planned: 

  •  2022-2023  
    No changes. Indicators remain the same as previous years. Report due October 2023 
  • 2023-2024  
    Existing NPR indicators minus the indicators that have been retired as agreed during the Review. 
  • 2024-2025
    Revised NPR indicators (some will be new). 
    Service providers should have already received NPR Memos and NPR Handbooks from DRDMW (on behalf of the Bureau) for the 2022-23 and the 2023-2024 reporting periods. 

Please ensure you apply the correct handbook to the correct reporting period. If you do not have these memos and handbooks please contact Blair Robertson or Raquel Esteban, who will gladly email them to you. 

Service providers with fewer than 10,000 connections 

For water and sewerage service providers with fewer than 10,000 connections, reporting against NPR indicators will commence in 2024-2025. The indicator set will be a subset of the 142 NPR indicators. This subset is still being refined. 

Thank you to a select group of small service providers who collectively, have helped RDMW create a strong case at a national level to ensure the final indicator set is manageable and meaningful. The Department anticipates that the final indicator set will be around 85 indicators, of which 65 are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) already reported in SWIM and part of annual performance reporting. Reporting for NPR will be done through SWIM. 

Next steps 

  • Final national agreement on the indicator subset for service providers with fewer than 10,000 connections 
  • Completion of the 2024-25 NPR handbook by the Bureau  (expected in late August). 
  • Plan the roll out of education and training needs with the Queensland Water Directorate, to assist service providers with their understanding and reporting against the NPR Framework. 
  • Review of the KPI Performance Reporting Definition Guide to realign with the anticipated 2024-2025 NPR Handbook. 

If you have any enquiries or concerns about reporting against the NPR Framework or need further clarification about the above information, contact Blair Robertson or Raquel Esteban. 

5. QWater’23 Conference

Save the date for the QWater'23 Conference in Brisbane from 9-10 November. The conference will focus on the critical period ahead for water in Queensland and emphasise the urgency and significance of the practical steps required to ensure the long-term sustainability of water for our many needs. 

The conference will commence with an optional Site Tour to Sunwater’s Rocklea Hydraulics Laboratory followed by a Welcome Reception overlooking the Brisbane River. There will be more networking opportunities at the Meet the Trades Drinks and Conference Dinner on Day 1. Day 2 will feature a Safety Stream hosted by the SEQ Utilities and close with a light-hearted Debate, hosted by the YWP Subcommittee.  

The program will be released and registrations open in September. 


6. SEQ Regional Plan Update Open for Review

The Queensland Government is undertaking a targeted review of the existing regional plan to respond to current housing pressures in context of the significant growth and events our region has experienced since 2017. The draft Shaping SEQ 2023 (PDF, 18.2MB) update includes new and updated strategies to ensure we enhance the region’s communities now and into the future.

The plan includes almost 900,000 new homes for the SEQ region by 2046 to accommodate 2.2 million new residents.

Consultation on the draft update is open until 20 September 2023. You can have your say through the online engagement hub.


  • 15 August  - AWA North Queensland Conference, Townsville 
  • 5-7 September - Annual Forum, Toowoomba 
  • 15 September - NSW Water Directorate Annual Forum, Sydney
  • 5 October - AWA QLD Water Awards
  • 6 October - qldwater Regional Conference, Mackay
  • 9-10 November - AWA QWater, Brisbane 
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