eFlash #582

eFlash #582

eFlash #582
Date: 20-Oct-2023


QWRAP Program Security | Essentials webinar series on Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) | National Performance Reporting (NPR) webinars for 2024-25 data collection/reporting | Release of the 2021/22 National Water Account | New Careers in Water website launched | Queensland Water Strategy released | Water Resource Management Compliance Plan released  | Increasing water security for Gladstone | Report - The high cost of cheap water | RSL Employment candidates | Default Market Offer Issues Paper 


1. QWRAP Program Security

On Tuesday 17 October, The Honourable Glenn Butcher MP Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water held a breakfast at the Grand Oakes Hotel in Gladstone.

The breakfast coincided with the LGAQ Annual Conference, providing an opportunity to get together to discuss important matters across the regions, particularly in relation to water infrastructure. The breakfast also provided a chance to meet key representatives from the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (RDMW), including Ms Linda Dobe, Acting Director-General, as well as representatives from the Dam Safety, Water Supply Regulation and Strategic Water Initiatives teams.  

At the breakfast, qldwater, LGAQ and the RDMW signed a new Tripartite Grant Agreement securing three further years of support for the Queensland Water Regional Alliance Program (QWRAP). 

We are about to embark on a QWRAP communications strategy to streamline funding applications, events and communications between and within regions, so watch this space! 

2. Essentials Webinar Series on Harmful Algal Blooms

Our Essentials Webinar series on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) kicked off this week with Matthew Coulton from the Bureau of Meteorology providing the climate and water outlook for the coming season.

At the end of 2019 Queensland was in drought and moisture content in soils was very low across Queensland, in some places the lowest on record. This was alleviated by the following two years being wetter than average including major flood events in SEQ and NSW during 2022. At the end of 2023 many catchments are very dry, especially those in SEQ where winter rainfall fell in the lowest 10% of historical records. Greater rainfall will be required to cause catchment inflows into our dams. The seasonal forecast for November is for rainfall very much below median, with totals likely to fall in the lowest 20% of records for much of the state. At the same time, the chance of temperature being above median is above 80% for the whole state, with a high chance of record temperatures across Queensland. We are in for a hot dry summer, which will have follow on effects for water security across the state.

In this comprehensive overview, Matthew provided history and insights into the various climate outlook products that are available from BOM, all of which are regularly updated. 

A recording of the presentation is available on our website. This page also includes links to the two remaining webinars in this series which include:

Webinar 2: Managing HAB through your Drinking Water Quality Management Plan

Thursday 26 October 2023, 10:00 – 11:30 am

By Ted Aldred, Manager Water Supply Regulation – Water Operations and Systems, Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water

Blue green algae outbreaks in surface waters can be challenging for water service providers, especially when coupled with other risks that are heightened by high temperatures. Boiling drinking water is not an effective means for removing or inactivating toxins associated with HABs. In this webinar Ted will talk about the role of the Drinking Water Quality Management Plan in managing these risks to provide safe drinking water for your community.

Register here.

Webinar 3: Health Aspects of Harmful Algal Blooms

Thursday 2 November 2023, 10:00 – 11:00 am

By Dr Phil Choi, Senior Environmental Health Scientist, Queensland Public Health and Scientific Services, Queensland Health

The conditions that favour HABs include warm temperature, stratified water and calm or stagnant conditions: all circumstances that are associated with drier than usual wet seasons. If HABs do occur, they have the potential to impact drinking water supplies as well as recreational and irrigation water supplies. Queensland Health has recently updated its FAQ on HAB, and Phil will provide an overview of the health aspects of HAB. 

Register here.

3. National Performance Reporting (NPR) Webinars for 2024-25 Data Collection/Reporting

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (DRDMW) will jointly host two webinars on the recent changes to National Performance Reporting (NPR).

All service providers will be involved in NPR from the 2024-25 reporting period, and you are encouraged to attend the relevant webinar for your sized service. The webinar will provide information about NPR requirements and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.


The first webinar is tailored to service providers with >10,000 connections (those currently reporting for NPR). 

9.30am – 11.00am (AEST) on Wednesday, 1 November 2023

Register here.


The second webinar is tailored to service providers with <10,000 connections (new to reporting for NPR). 

11.00am – 12.30pm (AEST) on Wednesday, 15 November 2023

Register here.

For any questions on the webinars please email the Bureau of Meteorology or David Scheltinga.  

4. Release of the 2021/22 National Water Account

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publication Water Account, Australia, 2021-22 was released this week which includes information on: 

  • Physical and monetary supply and use of water in the Australian economy
  • Water-related indicators including consumption, use, expenditure, intensity and productivity
  • Industry water use splits for states/territories
  • Water supply industry highlights

Please find below links to the publication and data downloads: 

  • Main publication page: Water Account, Australia, 2021-22 financial year | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)
  • Data downloads: Water Account, Australia, 2021-22 financial year | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)

The ABS Water Account team works closely with their stakeholders to improve the relevancy and quality of their water information. Any feedback or questions related to the publication would be greatly appreciated by the ABS. 

5. New Careers in Water website launched

Last year we embarked on a journey with the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), the Australian Water Association and other utilities to figure out what the water industry has to offer potential employees and how best to attract and retain staff. We thank WSAA for funding this important work.

After many meetings and discussions at a national level, the water sector agreed on an overarching Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to drive understanding and awareness of the water industry and the vital role we play. The end result is a campaign that aims to position water as an industry of choice, instill a sense of pride for existing employees and to drive applications for key talent segments across the industry.

The campaign launched this week as part of National Water Week with a new water careers website that includes water stories from a range of employees, resources that our members can use when advertising for new staff and links to water jobs.

Check it out and get on board by sharing and promoting the campaign and using the key messages and other tools to raise the profile of our industry. 


6. Queensland Water Strategy released

Monday saw the release of Queensland’s Water Strategy. The strategy was announced by Queensland’s Water Minister Glenn Butcher at the Local Government Association of Queensland’s annual conference, held in Gladstone. 

Developed in consultation with the water industry (including a workshop session at our Annual Forum), stakeholders and the community, the strategy harnesses the strong partnerships and collaborative approach the Queensland Government has with communities across Queensland, to meet challenges and create future opportunities when it comes to water security.

Responding to the need to balance the increasing economic, environmental, social and cultural demand for water, the strategy identifies four key delivery focus areas: 

  • Healthy waterways
  • First Nations partnerships
  • Water for regional economic prosperity 
  • Safe and secure water supply

Drawing on science, technology, water planning and traditional knowledge, the strategy sets out how the Queensland Government will continue to build on its $5.2 billion in water infrastructure investment. 

7. Water Resource Management Compliance Plan released 

The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water has now published the Annual Compliance Plan 2023 – 24, which outlines compliance priorities and areas of focus.

Whilst the Department works across all areas of regulatory responsibility, identifying its areas of focus help them to prioritise their proactive effort on what is most important.

This year, the Department’s areas of focus include:

  • Improving on the quality and timeliness of required information to the department
  • Increasing their regulatory presence
  • Spotlight on certain types of non-compliance behaviours

In addition to the Departments focus areas, they also have ongoing regulatory priorities and responsibilities, as outlined under in their Regulatory Strategy.

8. Increasing Water Security for Gladstone

This week Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Water Minister Glenn Butcher celebrated the start of construction on the Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline at the Yarwun site. 

The $983 million Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline will deliver long term water security to Gladstone residents and industry and support emerging industries like hydrogen. The 117-kilometre pipeline will run from the Lower Fitzroy River in Rockhampton and connect to Gladstone Area Water Board’s existing water network at Yarwun.

Preparation works, including geotechnical investigations and cultural heritage clearances are taking place at the southern end of the pipeline corridor, near Gladstone, with major works expected to commence in early 2024. The project is expected to be complete in late 2026, weather and construction conditions permitting.

9. Report - The high cost of cheap water

A new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report has revealed that a looming water crisis endangers water resources and freshwater ecosystems valued at approximately US$58 trillion annually, with significant implications for food security, human well-being, and the environment.  

The report finds that direct economic benefits, such as water consumption for households, irrigated agriculture and industries, amount to a minimum of $7.5 trillion annually. It also estimates that the unseen benefits - which include purifying water, enhancing soil health, storing carbon, and protecting communities from extreme floods and droughts - are seven times higher at around $50 trillion annually. 

10. RSL Employment Candidates

RSL Employment have profiled 16 candidates that are highly skilled and ready to employ right now.

These candidates have a wealth of skills and experience ranging from project management, human resources, nursing, engineering and more.

Click here to see the list of candidates, and contact employmentprogram@rslqld.org if would like to discuss a candidate with the RSL employment team.


11. Default Market Offer Issues Paper

Last week the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released its issues paper for the Default market offer (DMO) price determination for 2024–25 (known as DMO 6). 

The Default Market Offer (DMO) is the maximum price an electricity retailer can charge a customer on a standing offer. A customer may be on a standing offer for several reasons – for example, if they have never switched to a retailer’s market offer or have defaulted to a standing offer at the end of their market offer benefit period.

The DMO price determination applies to small business and residential customers in South Australia, New South Wales (NSW) and South East Queensland, where there is no other retail price regulation. It does not apply to regional Queensland (Ergon Retails Customers). The DMO price for each area also acts as a reference price for comparing residential and small business electricity offers. When advertising or promoting an offer, retailers must show the price of the offer in comparison to the DMO. This aims to help customers more easily compare different offers.  

 This issues paper marks the first of two rounds of public consultation in the annual DMO process. A public stakeholder forum for the DMO 6 issues paper is set to be held on Friday 27 October from 11am AEDT. 

The forum will allow a broad range of sector participants to hear from AER staff on the approach for the latest issues paper for DMO 6. Two industry stakeholders will also be presenting on their perspective, understanding, and approach to responding to the issues paper. 


9-10 November - AWA QWater, Brisbane 

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