eFlash #596

eFlash #596

eFlash #596
Date: 24-Apr-2024


Annual Forum Wrap

Thank you to all those who attended the 2024 Water Skills Forum last week – it was great to catch up with so many of our members and partners and to broaden our connections with the HR professionals in our member organisations. 

An overview of the day’s activities, along with a link to all the presentations, are available on this web page.

Photos taken on the day are available here.

We would like to draw your attention to a range of products launched on the day, including:

Micro-Credentials May

Micro-Credentials May is a series of one-hour webinars to promote the new series of Micro-Credential (MC) Courses to be delivered later this year.

This is your opportunity to see what the full MCs will include and to decide who in your teams would benefit from the courses.

Wednesday 8 May 1.00 to 2.30pm - SCADA Introduction

Tuesday 14 May 10.00 to 11.00am - Making Use of Water Quality Data

Wednesday 22 May 10.00 to 11.00am -  DWQMPs – Practical Implications

Wednesday 29 May 10.00 to 11.00am - Fluoridation for QLD Operators

The full MCs will be delivered between June and September this year, with enrolments managed by Lee-Anne Wills, Water Industry Worker Coordinator. We will share those dates shortly.

The Micro-Credentialing Program is part of the Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2032 and is proudly supported and funded by the Queensland Government.

Water Workforce Toolbox

We are pleased to release a new look Water Workforce Toolbox featuring the newly release HR/IR toolkit developed by HR Consultant Chris Hancock and Elle Ackland from LGAQ. 

The HR/IR toolkit includes a series of Position Descriptions aligned with the Queensland Local Government Industry (Stream B) Award with Schedule 1 (Classifications – Operational Services) which can be downloaded and tailored to suit specific requirements of the role / organisational context.

The other topics in the toolbox include a curated selection of documents, presentations and video recordings from our website and events. More topics will be added over time, so please let us know if there are any topics you would like to see featured in more detail.

Essentials Webinar - Ensuring Telcos Meet Regulatory Requirements and Protecting Critical Water Assets

The recording of the latest Essentials Webinar held on Tuesday 23 April is now available on our website.

In this presentation, Carmel Serratore, Principal Consultant at Integrated Legal Solutions and previously Legal Counsel for Seqwater, steps through the new legal agreement template (Telco Land Access Agreement or TLAA) which has been prepared for qldwater to assist our members when dealing with a licensed carrier seeking to deploy low impact facilities (in particular, under a LAAN pursuant to Schedule 3 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth)). 

The TLAA seeks to ensure telecommunication providers and their personnel/contractors meet their legislated (and contractual) requirements whilst protecting the interests and ongoing rights of urban water service providers (WSPs).


How PCBUs/owners of electrical equipment can enhance safety of contracted electricians

Businesses have duties under Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation, even when trade contractors have control of all or part of their clients’ premises. Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) will sometimes assume that beyond making sure tradies get decent access and are left alone to do their jobs, there is some line in the sand shielding them from responsibility if something goes wrong.

Under WHS legislation, including the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (ES Act), that assumption is not correct.  Under the ES Act, while electricians are working at the PCBU’s premises, the PCBU still has a primary duty of care, and remains a person in control of electrical equipment. 

The Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 (ES Reg), gives PCBUs an active duty to ensure electrical equipment that has been de-energised to allow electrical work to be carried out is not inadvertently re-energised while the work is carried out. 

Electricians may seek the owner/PCBU’s permission to isolate a switchboard and are told ‘no’. There might be good reasons related to critical water infrastructure where it is necessary in the interests of health and safety that electrical work is carried out while equipment is energised.

Aside from the very strict rules about electricians working live, not isolating a switchboard can mean electricians will have to work in proximity to live parts.

If a PCBU says ‘no’ they better have very good reasons to show it is not reasonably practicable to isolate.  Without effective isolation, damage to equipment and property could occur, or far worse, a serious electrical incident could result in a person being killed or receiving an electric shock or arc flash burns.

Heat Stress

While we are heading into Autumn, heat stress is still a threat to our workers. Heat stress is the total heat load on the body from multiple sources. Air temperature is only one contributing factor to the risk of heat-related illness. Other factors that should be considered when managing heat-related stress exposure at work include:

  • exposure to direct sunlight, especially during the hottest part of the day
  • exposure to reflected/radiated heat from metals, glass, equipment, and hot work processes
  • individual and strenuous task requirements or work for sustained long periods
  • inadequate cooling off, rest periods, or insufficient water consumption
  • climatic conditions (e.g. low air movement, high humidity, high temperature)
  • clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) that reduces heat loss from the body
  • workers not being used to carrying out physical work in hot conditions
  • poor diet, vomiting, diarrhoea, or alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • fatigue related to inadequate or irregular sleep patterns.

The way heat affects people varies from person to person and can be influenced by general health, age, fitness level and pre-existing medical conditions.

A safe system of work should include an assessment of the environmental conditions at the workplace and the physical well-being of workers. A workplace should have an established and ongoing monitoring and supervision process for workers, especially during hot and humid weather.

The Heat Stress (basic) Calculator can be used as an assessment tool to help identify and manage risks of heat related illness.

Regulatory Update

The Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) recently published a Regulatory Position Statement on PFAS in organic material processing (composting), and an information sheet on monitoring and testing for PFAS in composting, to help to ensure a safe, sustainable composting industry moving forward. The PFAS limits set in the position statement are similar to those outlined in the biosolids end of waste code and also similar to guidance values for soil re-use in other states.

Whilst the Queensland Government still supports the expansion of a sustainable organics industry that diverts material from landfill, this position statement and the revised limits make it clear that this support must not be at the expense of the environment or the community.

The PFAS position statement and other supporting information can be found online at: Composting regulation in Queensland | Environment | Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (des.qld.gov.au).

Senior Project Engineer Role, Cairns Regional Council

Cairns Regional Council has a full time, fixed term Senior Project Engineer role available to work on Council’s largest project ever undertaken. If you are keen to play a key role in the delivery of infrastructure and assets that prioritise water security, values and protects the environment, enhances community wellbeing and natural disaster resilience – all in one of the most beautiful places in the world – then this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

For more information, please contact the recruitment team on (07) 4044 3310 or jobs@cairns.qld.gov.au. To apply please visit the Employment at Council website. Applications close on Sunday, 5 May 2024.


National Water Agreement

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) is seeking views on a future national water agreement.

This discussion paper is an early document for consultation and includes background information on why they are working on an intergovernmental agreement on water and details of the proposed objectives and outcomes that a new agreement might include.

Complete the survey here.

Upload a video / submission here

More information available here

Burnett Basin Water Plan Review

The process to review and replace the Burnett Basin water plan is underway with the first round of public consultation now open. The Preliminary Public Consultation (PPC) Notice and a Postponement of Expiry (POE) Notice was recently approved by the Minister. If you wish to make a submission to help shape the new plan, the first opportunity for input closes on 28 June 2024.

The POE extends the expiry of the existing 2014 Burnett water plan for 3 years to 19 April 2027. Click here to browse the website and key topics .


  •  13-17 May – Water Connections Tour
  • 30-31 July - AWA North Queensland Conference, Hamilton Island
  • 21 August – QWRAP Chairs and Coordinators Forum
  • 22-23 August - qldwater Annual Forum
  • 26 October - State Government elections
  • 21-22 November - Emerging Contaminants Workshop
  • 26 October - State Government elections

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