eFlash #567

eFlash #567

eFlash #567
Date: 12-May-2023


Water Connections Tour | qldwater welcomes TRILITY as Principal Event Sponsor for 2023 | Ozwater '23 | Federal Budget | WSAA Discussion Paper: Renewing the National Water Initiative | Updates to the Water Fluoridation Act 2008


1. Water Connections Tour 2023

Excitement is building as we pack our bags for the 2023 Water Connections Tour!

This year qldwater staff will drive delegates from the Departments of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water, Health, Employment, Small Business & Training and Environment & Science and Local Government Association Queensland across eight Council areas in the Central Queensland region to gain a perspective on the issues and challenges facing regional water service providers.

The tour itinerary includes visits to treatment plants, meetings with key staff and elected representatives and local hospitality in the South Burnett, North Burnett, Cherbourg, Fraser Coast, Banana, Woorabinda, Gladstone and Bundaberg Council areas.

Over the course of the week we will pass through Kabi Kabi, Wakka Wakka, Butchulla, Auburn Harkwood, Iman, Wulli Wulli, Wadja, Kanolu, Bidjara, Barada, Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda country, and we pay our respects to the First Nations people and recognise the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities.

2. qldwater welcomes TRILITY as Principal Event Sponsor for 2023 

The Principal Event Sponsorship package covers all qldwater events for 2023 including the Water Skills Forum, the Annual Forum, the Regional Conference as well as Water Connections Week, which kicks off next Monday. The annual five-day intensive tour of water, sewerage and treatment plant infrastructure in remote and regional Councils provide an opportunity to share up to date technical and policy information and to explore and understand issues facing small and remote communities.

TRILITY Water Consultancy Service are front-line operators delivering safe and efficient water and wastewater services across the full water cycle in collaboration with utilities, councils and authorities to deliver safe water to communities.

They deliver a broad range of services and apply operational expertise to ensure clients can support consistent and sustained operations that meet Australian regulatory standards and public health standards and also protect the environment. The TRILITY team is committed to enhancing and complementing the resources and skills of utilities, councils and authorities in order to drive sustained compliance. They genuinely partner and collaborate with clients, using guidance, education and proactive troubleshooting to improve current practices, to enhance our clients’ capacity to pass and sustain their water compliance requirements.

We look forward to working with the TRILITY team as we roll out our 2023 events program.

3. Ozwater '23 

Featuring hundreds of speakers and technical presentations organised under 12 sub-themes, the Ozwater’23 program offered delegates an array of thought-provoking topics to choose from, as well as inspiring keynote speakers.  

qldwater interim CEO and Director Innovation Partnerships, Linda Roberts, participated in an Ozwater'23 Workshop on "Step Changes Needed for Better Regional Water Utility Collaboration." 

Linda is well placed to speak on this topic as manager of the Queensland Water Regional Alliances Program (QWRAP) which now consists of 56 participating Councils in nine regions collaborating on water and sewerage projects across Queensland. QWRAP is a collaboration between the Local Government Association of Queensland, qldwater and the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water and a fine example of industry-led alliances.

Linda was joined by an engaging and passionate panel with Eric Vanweydeveld, Andrew Francis and Danny Burkett and facilitated by Janice A. Wilson. 

The workshop speaks to some of the work done by regional champions across the states and through the Australian Water Association's Regional, Rural and Remote Specialist Network. 

Day 2 at OzWater 23 delivered on the theme UNITED BY WATER as attendees shared stories and connections through Yarning Circles. It was an excellent way to dive deeper into Reconciliation Action Plans and what they mean for an organisation or an individual as we acknowledge our connection to country.

4. Federal Budget Update

The Federal Budget again proved that the importance of the urban water sector, arguably the most essential of all essential services, remains largely invisible.

The water sector at a Federal level is managed by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW).

Much of the water-related funding will be directed to delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan with $103.7 million allocated to undertake a review of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and $32.7 million to restore transparency, integrity and confidence in water markets. A further $3.5 million will establish a First Nations Environmental Water Partnerships Program to develop partnership agreements between First Nations organisation in the Murray Darling Basin.

There may be some opportunities for our members in the $197.1 million investment in critical water infrastructure for regional Australia through the National Water Grid Fund. A further $150 million will go towards water infrastructure projects to provide safe and reliable water for remote and regional First Nation communities.

The North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority (NQWIA), established to provide strategic planning and coordination of Commonwealth resources to implement water infrastructure priorities and manage water infrastructure projects in northern Queensland, will be abolished as a non-corporate Commonwealth entity and Executive Agency no later than 1 October 2023. The project-related administrative functions for both the Big Rocks Weir and Hughenden Irrigation Scheme projects, as well as the strategic planning and coordination functions for the Big Rocks Weir will transfer to the department.

The water sector indeed offered more savings than it received in the budget!

The Budget claims to make responsible investment decisions by addressing legacy projects where there is presently no state, territory or local government partner, no clear pathway to delivery, or no strong economic case. As such, the following projects have been cancelled:

  •  The $595.0 million commitment to construct the Dungowan Dam in New South Wales  
  • The $162.5 million commitment to construct the Emu Swamp Dam and Pipeline in Queensland which is now being considered against alternative options as part of the Southern and Darling Downs Regional Water Assessment with a commitment to work with the Queensland Government to identify water security solutions for regional and remote communities, including in the Stanthorpe region.
  • The $35.0 million commitment to construct the Fingal Irrigation Scheme in Tasmania
  • The $39.7 million commitment to construct the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme in Western Australia. 
  • The Australian Government’s construction commitment for the Wyangala Dam Wall Raising project in New South Wales and the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme project in Queensland remains deferred. 

Other announcements include the creation of Environment Protection Australia to enforce environmental laws to better protect the environment and make better, faster decisions. The new regulator will be complemented by Environment Information Australia, which will improve transparency, the quality, and the timeliness of environmental decision making.

The biggest winner in the budget would be Hydrogen with a $2 Billion plan to establish a new Hydrogen Headstart program. As WSAA noted in their latest call for the reestablishment of the National Water Initiative, the hydrogen industry has underappreciated the criticality of securing reliable manufactured water supplies. To meet the 2050 ambitions could require more than Australia’s current total household water usage! It may be time to acknowledge that without a national water strategy, there is no national hydrogen strategy.

More budget information is available here.


5. WSAA Discussion Paper: Renewing the National Water Initiative

The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) this week published a discussion paper on the forthcoming renewal of the National Water Initiative. Building on recommendations by the Productivity Commission for a new NWI, WSAA has taken the lead for the urban water sector, calling on all state and territory governments to embrace the opportunity a national approach presents to deliver prosperity, jobs, action on climate change and liveable cities.

"The NWI has tended to focus on rural and Murray-Darling Basin issues. While these issues are important, with turnover of $24 billion, the urban water sector is many times larger than the rural water sector. Our services underpin the future of Australian cities and regional and remote communities, and are worth focussing on.”

The paper is a must read to stimulate and encourage discussion and engagement between key stakeholders for the urban water sector. The discussion paper can be accessed here.

6. Updates to the Water Fluoridation Act 2008

On Tuesday 2 May 2023, minor amendments to the Water Fluoridation Act 2008 (the Act) took effect.

The amendments update section 13 of Act concerning notifications of intention relating to fluoridation of a public potable water supply.

To reflect changes in the print media landscape, especially in rural and remote areas where many Queensland communities no longer have access to a hardcopy newspaper, provisions requiring publication of notifications to changes to fluoridation of a water supply have been amended.

Local governments may now publish the required notification of a decision to add fluoride to a water supply, or a decision to remove fluoride from a water supply in a publicly accessible way that includes publication of a notice on the local government’s website.

You can view the latest version of the Act on the Queensland Government’s Queensland Legislation website.

If you have any questions in relation to the amendments to the Act or require advice in relation to the preparation of fluoridation notifications, please contact Queensland Health’s Water Unit via fluoride@health.qld.gov.au or (07) 3328 9351.


  • 15–19 May - Water Connections Tour, CQ Region 
  • 8 June - Water Skills Forum, Eagle Farm, Brisbane 
  • 19-20 July - WIOA Queensland Conference, USQ, Sunshine Coast  
  • 15 August  - AWA North Queensland Conference, Townsville 
  • 5-7 September - Annual Forum, Toowoomba 
  • 13 September - NSW Water Directorate Annual Forum, Sydney
  • October (date TBC) - qldwater Regional Conference, Mackay
  • 9-10 November - AWA QWater, Brisbane 

Kind Regards,


qldwater is a business unit of IPWEAQ

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