eFlash #514

eFlash #514

eFlash #514
Date: 01-Dec-2021

In this edition: Telecommunications Legislation| QWater ‘21 Conference Wrap| Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2021

1. Telecommunications Legislation

The Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 (LIFD) has now been published on the Federal Register of Legislation.

The new compilation incorporates the amendments made under the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Amendment Determination 2021, registered earlier this month.

We have struggled to keep on top of the changes and the consultation process remains crazy with a few days between drafts and final publication/ assent. The general feedback from the WSAA group reviewing appears to be that the amendments are reasonable and take into account most past concerns, with some discussion still being held around engineering certification and protection of underground assets around reservoirs.

2. QWater ‘21 Conference Wrap

qldwater was well represented at the AWA QWater Conference on the Gold Coast last week and it was great to see a number of activities we are involved with reflected in the presentations.

There were many excellent presentations, none more so than the Best Presentation winner Kelly Hopewell whose “small PFAS problem” ended up turning into a big headache for the City of Gold Coast. Kelly’s presentation, “From little things big things grow: lessons learnt from an environmental PFAS investigation” was highly entertaining and provided food for thought on how best to manage contaminants of emerging concern.

It was also great to revisit Anna Whelan and Kezia Drane’s winning paper, “What do turtles and wastewater have in common – a study on antibiotic resistance” and look forward to seeing the outcomes of Kezia’s research.

Other highlights included a case study on waking up the SEQ Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme (it’s not as easy as just flicking the on switch!), backed up by a WSAA case study on how to take the community on a journey of acceptance in “Community journeys on Purified Recycled Water in Orange County California and Hunter Water Newcastle”.

Thanks to the AWA for the great opportunity to network and learn more about the wonderful things that are happening in our industry.

3. Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2021

On Monday 22nd November evening the Australian Parliament passed the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2021.  The Bill will shortly be presented to the Governor General for Royal Assent. The Bill amends the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 to extend Australia’s critical infrastructure regime.

This means the expansion of the definition of critical infrastructure sectors to 11 sectors of the economy, including water and sewerage.

This follows extensive consultation, with WSAA taking the lead for the urban water industry. There has been little change to the provisions proposed in earlier communications on the topic. The threshold for a “critical water asset” remains at 100,000 connections, the obligations under the Act are most significant for those entities.

What is next?
Any guidance material will be posted at:cisc.gov.au

Next are the following consultations:

Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2021

  • formal consultation on a rule as to who the critical infrastructure register requirement applies to.
  • formal consultation on a rule as to who the Mandatory Cyber Incident Reporting requirement applies to.

Further critical infrastructure Bill in 2022

  • consultation on the draft Bill that the Government intends to introduce in 2022 containing the remaining elements of the 2020 Bill and responding to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security recommendations.

co-design of the Risk Management Program Rules including costing the regulatory impacts. This is ahead of formal consultation that will be outlined in the Bill.

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