In this edition: Release of the Productivity Commission’s National Water Reform 2020 Draft Report| COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout| Water Skills Forum 2021 – 4 March 2021| Call for papers and sponsors – Barcaldine Conference| NSW Town Water Risk Reduction Program Launches| Position Vacant – Water & Sewerage Operator, Goondiwindi
The Productivity Commission’s latest water sector report was released last week. It is available at:
The Commission is calling for submissions on the draft report by Wednesday 24 March 2021. Members are encouraged to consider providing direct feedback, or contact qldwater (Dave or Rob) if there are comments you’d like to see incorporated into our submission.
The key findings section of the report is available at https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/water-reform-2020/draft/water-reform-2020-draft-findings.pdf
Some key points from the findings, of particular relevance to urban water and sewerage services:
National Water Initiative
Entitlements, planning and markets, environmental management
Urban water services
qldwater has been investigating the plans for staged rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to our sector. So far it looks like the vaccine rollout will be managed (in Queensland, and presumably other jurisdictions) according to the federal rollout schedule, which means that it will be prioritised mostly by the age and vulnerability of individuals:
Phase 1a: Quarantine and border workers; Front line health care; Aged care and disability staff and residents
Phase 1b: Adults 70+ ; Other health care workers; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 55+; Adults with a medical condition or disability; Critical and high-risk wo3. rkers (e.g.defence, police, fire, emergency services, meat processing)
Phase 2a: Adults 50+; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18+ ; other critical and high-risk workers
Phase 2b: Balance of adult population
Phase 3: Under 18, if recommended
The roll-out is likely to commence in late-February and continue for 6- 12 months, depending upon vaccine supply. Each person will need two doses of the vaccine. The roll-out will commence with Phase 1a participants receiving the vaccine in 30-50 hospital hubs and in residential aged care and disability facilities. The hospital hubs will have the ability to handle the cold chain requirements of the Pfizer vaccine which needs to be stored at -70C.
According to Queensland Health, initial vaccination hubs for Queensland are being established in Townsville, Cairns, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane (RBWH and PA hospitals). These sites were selected as having the highest COVID-19 risk due to being major destinations and entry points for international travellers.
Later the COVID-19 vaccine will be available from GPs and pharmacies.
At this point in time there seems to be no plan in place to target essential services beyond the health and aged care sectors, although this may change as the rollout takes place. Our sector fits in with phase 2a of the rollout, which puts the water and sewerage service providers in the first 50% of the population to be vaccinated.
There have also been some questions about enforcing vaccination. According to Queensland Health, the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory, and individuals will maintain the option to choose not to vaccinate. However, it goes on to say that policies around staff vaccination are the responsibility of individual employers and their policies and expectations. A worker who chooses not to be vaccinated may be redeployed by their employer if they face a risk of exposure to COVID-19 cases.
WSAA is seeking clarification from the federal Department of Health on where front-line essential water sector workers fit in within the phases and whether there should be mandatory requirements (or not) for the vaccination for office workers.
The Queensland Water Skills Partnership is hosting its annual Water Skills Forum on Thursday 4 March, 2021. Following three successful forums, the 2021 forum will provide an opportunity for Water and Sewerage Managers, Human Resources and Learning and Development professionals to hear presentations from water industry and other workforce experts on topics such as succession planning, leadership and future training needs and provide an opportunity to identify collaborative opportunities to address key water industry skilling challenges. View the program.
Please register online now to join us at our new location in Eagle Farm, or by linking into the sessions virtually. Water Skills Partners receive three free registrations (in person/virtual) to participate in the Forum, with registration also available for $50 plus GST for qldwater members who are not Water Skills Partners and $100 plus GST for non-members. View the registration options.
Thank you to TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech for sponsoring the forum once again and welcome to our new sponsor, Diona, who will be sponsoring the networking drinks at the close of the forum.
We hope to see you on the 4th of March and invite you to contact Carlie Sargent if you have any queries on 07 3632 6853 or email@example.com.
We’re about to head off for Goondiwindi this week and our next qldwater regional event will be in Barcaldine on 19/20 May, hosted by Barcaldine Regional Council. Parts of the program will again be available online, but we hope to get as many people in person as we can. Note that you’ll need to sort out your travel and accommodation logistics nice and early – we plan on flying to Emerald and driving.
Early bird registrations will be complimentary again for qldwater members, with a dinner planned on the evening of the 19th. Please contact Naomi (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in sponsoring this event.
qldwater conferences are an informal opportunity for networking, updates on what’s impacting Queensland’s water and sewerage service providers, and technical presentations.
The call is now open for relevant technical and other presentations to fill 20-25 minutes slots. Presentations from qldwater members or organisations able to co-present with members will always be prioritised. We aim to make the process as easy as possible: you only need to provide us with a brief outline now and a PowerPoint on the day if accepted. Please forward your ideas to email@example.com.
The event theme will be focussed on service delivery in the West and we hope to be able to showcase some of the activities of the Remote Area Planning and Development Board’s Water and Sewerage Alliance which is supported through QWRAP.
Thank you to our confirmed sponsors in Dial Before You Dig for the Water Connections Tour and Aquatec Maxcon, Royce Water Technologies and Sigura Water our Gold Sponsors.
(adapted from the NSW Water Directorate’s e-news)
CEO of the NSW Water Sector, Jim Bentley and Executive Director Water Sector Reform, Amanda Chadwick of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) have written to all NSW Local Water Utilities (LWU's) to announce the commencement of the Town Water Risk Reduction Program (TWRRP).
DPIE is presently finalising the establishment of the program’s stakeholder advisory panel. This panel will bring together key sector stakeholders and trusted experts, enabling them to shape the program’s design, engagement approach and strategic direction from an early stage. The panel will include Local Government NSW, the NSW Water Directorate, Joint Organisations, local water utilities, co-regulators (NSW Health, Office of Local Government and the Environment Protection Authority) and DPIE Water’s Water Utilities team.
The NSW Directorate will be focussing its advocacy on
Goondiwindi Regional Council is looking for a full time Water & Sewerage Treatment Plant Operator/Assistant Operator based in Goondiwindi. The position’s objective is to ensure water and sewerage maintenance activities are carried out efficiently and effectively.
Are you looking for a career change or a change of scenery? This position could be perfect for you.
Are you interested and want to find out more? For further information about the position or duties involved, please contact Council’s Manager Water & Sewerage, Trevor Seth on (07) 4671 7457 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications must be received by close of business Monday, 8 March 2021.Back to list