eFlash #575

eFlash #575

eFlash #575
Date: 24-Aug-2023

IN THIS EDITION: IChEMS PFAS scheduling consultation session next Monday | Information Session: Workplace Exposure Standards for H2S and other chemicals | Annual Forum Update | TracWater Best of the Best Queensland Water Taste Test | Mackay Regional Conference Postponed  | Latest qldwater Submissions and Advocacy | Media Partnership: Inside Water | 3G Mobile Network Being Withdrawn |WSAA News | Biochar End of Waste Code | Consultation on the requirements for competent person in relation to asbestos-related tasks | Draft SEQ Regional Plan | WaterAID Walk4Water | WIOA Events | National Water Week | Workplace Health and Safety Events 


1. IChEMS PFAS scheduling consultation session next Monday 

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment Water (DCEEW) is seeking input on proposed scheduling of PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS and associated chemicals and Pentachlorobenzene under the Industrial Chemicals Environmental Management Standard (IChEMS). This is an important step for our sector towards source control of these chemicals. 

DCEEW held a consultation session on 17 August with multiple industries on this decision. There was limited representation from the urban water sector, and it was felt that a sector-focussed session would be beneficial. The consultation closes on 1 September 2023.  

Working with DCCEEW and our colleagues at WSAA, we have organised a sector-focussed session to be hosted by WSAA through the National Water Sector Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) Working Group originally set up for consultation on the Draft PFAS NEMP 3.0. 


What: Sector-focussed Consultation Session

When: Monday, 28 August 2023 FROM 2:00pm to 3:30pm 

Where: Via Zoom at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89050630750?pwd=aUNSOElJUnZaRlVSL0pTa1A3Y2tRUT09 

Meeting ID: 890 5063 0750 

Passcode: 387809 

This session is open to everybody, so please feel free to pass the details on to your interested colleagues. 

The proposed agenda is as follows: 

  • Overview from DCCEEW on IChEMS process. 
  • Current focus for proposed registration of PFAS chemicals under Schedule 7. 
  • Existing feedback you have received and what the process moving forward looks like. 
  • Open for Q&A 

The session will feed directly into qldwater's submission to DCCEEW. 

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. Annual Forum Update

All our speakers for the Annual Forum have now been confirmed and we are looking forward to three days of site tours, workshops, networking and connecting.  

We are pleased to announce that Brett Schimming, CEO of the new Build Skills Australia Jobs Skills Council (JSC) will be presenting on the VET reform process under the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and the resulting formation of ten new Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) to replace the existing Industry Clusters. The water sector ended up in the Building, Construction and Property JSC and a new entity, BuildSkills Australia, has been established. As CEO of this new entity, Brett will provide more information on its governance arrangements and how the views of the water sector will be incorporated in a fair and equitable way. 

We are also looking forward to hearing from five past Young Operator of the Year award winners on what the awards meant to them at the time and whether recognition through awards is a useful tool to retain competent staff. Join us to see where they are now and what they have achieved since being recognised for their efforts. 

A key part of the strategy day will be to help shape the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water risk assessment program. This work will also shape Queensland involvement in the renewed National Water Initiative and the Federal Funding made available as part of the re-invigoration of the National Water Commission (Federal Labour - Election Commitment). 

The agenda for the day can be found here. Registrations will close on Friday, 1 September. 

4. TracWater Best of the Best Queensland Water Taste Test

Just a reminder to get your water samples ready if you are planning to enter the taste test – especially if the sample will be sent by courier and not delivered in person on the day. 

Two litres of drinking water for each scheme entered should be sent to Level 1, 6 Eagleview Place, Eagle Farm by COB Friday, 1 September or delivered in person at the Burke & Wills Hotel, Toowoomba before midday on Tuesday, 5 September. We allow only one entry per service provider. Please submit samples in a container which clearly identifies the name of the water provider and the system/scheme it presents.  

You have to be in it to win it, so download the entry form now and get your samples ready!  

5. Mackay Regional Conference Postponed

Due to clashes with other events including the AWA Awards Dinner, the Mackay Regional Conference scheduled for Friday, 6 October has been postponed to March 2024 – more details to come.  

6. qldwater Submissions and Advocacy

Two new submissions have been added to our websiteover the past week.

qldwater Submission DYJESBT VET Strategy: Submission to the Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business and Training (DYESBT) discussion paper on the development of a Queensland Vocational Education and Training Strategy. Recommendations include opening the SAS platform to give more RTOs access to subsidised training, increase the number of subsidised units of competency and increased subsidy levels for Higher Level Skills. 

qldwater Submission Sustainable Liquid Fuels Strategy: Submission to the Department of Energy and Public Works on the Sustainable Liquid Fuels Strategy: Options and Opportunities Paper, May 2023. The submission urges the Department to urgently consider the water use of all these strategies and for the urban water sector to be represented at government forums like the Hydrogen Taskforce and the Ministerial Energy Council. 

7. Media Partnership: Inside Water

qldwater have signed a media partnership agreement with Inside Water and we look forward to raising the profile of the Queensland urban water and wastewater sector on their platform.

The Inside Water magazine offers comprehensive features and analyses that delve into the most recent developments and innovations within the water sector. Focused on the individuals, products, and technologies that form the foundation for the sustainable and inventive management of Australia's water resources, the magazine functions as an essential conduit that links industry leaders, decision-makers, and influencers with emerging professionals, businesses, and cutting-edge products and services. 

If you would like to be added to the print magazine distribution, please email Inside Water Subscription Manager Ricky Hlychho


8. 3G Mobile Network Being Withdrawn

Telstra is making improvements to its mobile network. As part of these improvements, the 3G network will be ‘switched off’ on 30 June 2024. The 3G network closure will not be a single event but will be a phased approach which Telstra seeks to streamline into a relatively short timeframe. As part of the disconnection of the 3G service, Telstra is currently updating and transitioning the infrastructure to 4G and 5G to ensure continuous network services to customers.

The Directorate will be meeting with Telstra in September to discuss the efficient and timely removal of all obsolete 3G network infrastructure and streamline the installation of new 4G and 5G infrastructure.

It is imperative that the network infrastructure renewal does not impact any water service provider’s ability to meet their legislative obligations and statutory functions (which include public health functions) and the ability to control (including maintaining and operating) its assets.

It is also timely to ensure that any equipment and communications using 3G is transitioned to the newer and faster 4G and 5G networks or alternative.

9. WSAA News

WSAA recently ran a biochar seminar with water utilities, policy makers and regulators from across Australia and New Zealand. The seminar dived deeper into the policy, regulatory and market challenges and opportunities behind this technology and its potential to revolutionise agriculture, land management and carbon sequestration practices. Read the key findings here

WSAA provided a submission to the Review of the National Hydrogen Strategy undertaken by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. The submission makes 16 recommendations to address the need for better, proactive collaboration with water providers and governments. Read the submission here.


10. Biochar End of Waste Code

The draft End of Waste code for Biochar is now available at Development of draft end of waste codes | Business Queensland for public consultation until 25 September 2023. 

Written submissions may be provided to RRS.Consultation@des.qld.gov.au. More details on how to make submissions are available on the website. 

The Draft Code is also being considered by the qldwater Sewerage and Water Environmental Advisory Panel (SWEAP). To participate in SWEAP or contribute to the qldwater submission, please contact Louise Reeves.

11. Consultation on the requirements for competent person in relation to asbestos-related tasks 

Safe Work Australia has opened public consultation to seek feedback on the nature and extent of the issues surrounding the definition and requirements of competent persons for asbestos-related tasks. 

Workplace exposure to asbestos continues to be a significant health and safety risk, despite a nationwide prohibition on the manufacture, supply, use and import of all forms of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials coming into force in 2003. 

Under the model Work Health and Safety Regulations, only a “competent person” with relevant training, qualifications or experience can carry out certain asbestos-related tasks in the workplace. 

All stakeholders are invited to make a submission, including: 

  • industry experts on asbestos management 
  • persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) such as asbestos removalists, asbestos assessors, construction and demolition businesses 
  • workers 
  • health and safety representatives and practitioners 
  • persons with management or control of workplaces where asbestos has been identified. 

Public consultation is open until 1 October 2023 on the consultation website Engage

12. Draft SEQ Regional Plan Update Open for Review

The South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017, also known as ShapingSEQ, is the Queensland Government’s plan to shape South East Queensland’s future growth.  The region includes the local government areas of: 

  • Brisbane City Council 
  • Gold Coast City Council 
  • Ipswich City Council 
  • Lockyer Valley Regional Council 
  • Logan City Council 
  • Moreton Bay City Council 
  • Noosa Shire Council 
  • Redland City Council 
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council 
  • Somerset Regional Council 
  • Sunshine Coast Council 
  • Toowoomba Regional Council (urban extent only). 

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.

qldwater will also be making a submission, to contribute to the submission or to share your thoughts please contact Georgina Davis.  


13. WaterAID Walk 4 Water 

WaterAID’s annual fundraising event, Walk 4 Water, is on from 2-6 October. W4W recognises the fact that over 750m people across the globe do not have access to safe drinking water, sanitation and good hygiene. It is estimated that 200 million hours are spent every day by people fetching safe drinking water, this task mainly falls to women and girls who are subjects to abuse, sexual assault just by fetching safe water. Many girls are further hampered by this as during their period they cannot attend school as there is no water or sanitation. When girls miss school, they fall behind and ultimately rely on a man for the rest of their lives. This cycle is repeated. Help us break this cycle.  

Teams or individuals can join on the online platform and promise to walk, run or swim (most walk) for an hour per day during W4W week, requesting sponsorship from friends, family, networks, contacts etc. It can be as little as $2-$3 for the week, but most donations are $20 and greater.  

WaterAID will promote the event on LinkedIn as the participants are busy out walking with their teams sharing selfies to create a positive, competitive spirit.  There is no cost in entering W4W. The type of business, size and location is no key for success, being organised is the key, so invite your clients and supply chain to join or sponsor your team.  

Read about the 2023 W4W leaders here and watch this amazing promotional video from 2022.  

14. WIOA Events

WIOA is hosting the Queensland McBerns Charity Bowls Day on Friday 1 September 2023 at the Yandina Bowls Club. All funds raised from the day will be distributed to charities in QLD. We encourage all members in the QLD area to register for this event and enjoy a great, relaxed day, networking with fellow water industry professionals.  

If you live further north, you can join the FNQ Interest Day & TRILITY Charity Bowls Day on Friday 13 October at the West Cairns Bowling Club. All funds raised from the day will be distributed to charities in FNQ. 

15. National Water Week

National Water Week (NWW) runs from 16-22October with some interesting events in the pipeline. The theme for 2023 is United by Water, celebrating water’s vital role in connecting us all. 

Click here for more information or to get involved. 

16. Workplace Health and Safety QLD Events 

October is Safe Work Month and work health and safety professionals and business leaders are invited to gather at the Work Well Regional Information Sessions to learn, connect and share ideas with other industry professionals. These FREE sessions will explore:  

  • Managing the risk of psychosocial hazards at work  
  • Managing respirable crystalline silica dust exposure in construction and manufacturing of construction elements Code of Practice 2022 
  • Powerline safety - look up and live. 

Follow this link to find the event closest to you.

Can’t make it to an in-person event? The Work Well Speaker Series is a FREE online speaker series with six events held throughout October. Each session will provide you with practical advice to immediately start improving health and safety and return to work outcomes in your workplace. 

Hear from industry leading experts who will be discussing:  

  • Controlling noise in the workplace 
  • The 3M's: meaningful, manageable, manual tasks - managing the risks of musculoskeletal disorders through a work design lens 
  • Promoting workplace safety for young employees 
  • How to unlock the health and safety representative (HSR) 
  • Good work design – theory and solutions to support injury prevention and management 
  • Developing evidence-based and practical solutions for preventing harm in the workplace 

View the speakers and register here.

Electrical Safety Week runs from 4 to 8 September with events for industry leaders, electrical workers, contractors and apprentices including an Electricity Safety Summit, an Electrical Apprentice Safety Forum, Electrical Industry Safety Webinar and an Electrical Safety in the Community Webinar – more information here.  

17. Other Key Dates 

  • 5-7 September - Annual Forum, Toowoomba 
  • 15 September - NSW Water Directorate Annual Forum, Sydney
  • 5 October - AWA QLD Water Awards
  • 9-10 November - AWA QWater, Brisbane 

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