Skills eFlash #113

Skills eFlash #113

Skills eFlash #113
Date: 03-Feb-2023

In this edition: Water Industry Snapshot Report 2022 Update | Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) Discussion Paper | Australian Local Government Association call for motions for the AGM | Essentials and Fundamentals Webinars 2023 | Submission to the Education, Employment and Training Committee Inquiry | Jobs and Skills Australia Report Released | Industry Skills Advisor Digital Survey Jobs Queensland | Water Services Association Australia War for Talent Project | Water Research Australia (WRA) - Water Operations Technical Competency Benchmark Project

Information for Water Industry Managers, Human Resources Personnel and Employees in the Queensland Water Industry
(Issue #113 - 3 February 2023)

1. Water Industry Snapshot Report 2022 Update

Since 2010, qldwater has produced biennial Workforce Composition Snapshot Reports to track trends in skills and training issues with data gathered from a representative sample of Queensland urban water service providers and a range of other sources. 

For the first time this year qldwater held the Snapshot Report Census Day, which afforded members the opportunity to jump online and have access to the team, to discuss issues and ask any questions around completion of the survey report template.  

Sincere thanks to the many members who engaged in the Census Day and to all those who have completed their survey reports and returned them ahead of schedule. We are so grateful for our community’s support in this important work. The 2022 Snapshot Report headlines so far are: 

  • The Census Day on 20th January 2023 was really well attended with members raising questions and staying online to hear other’s experiences on survey completion.  
  • Due to that success, Census Day is likely to become a fixture that accompanies the data request going forward 
  • Our first returner was Central Highlands Regional Council, congratulations to Amber Robinson and the team there (we really should have come up with a prize for that!) 

A very gentle reminder that we would like the reports to be returned to as soon as possible. Please do reach out to Neil if you need any help or have queries around the document and completion 

2. Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) Discussion Paper 

The Jobs and Skills Australia Bill 2022 passed on 27 October 2022, establishing Jobs and Skills Australia to provide advice to government on current and emerging workforce needs in order to meet the skills needs of a thriving economy. 

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) have just released (January 2023) a discussion paper seeking further feedback to finalise the design of JSA.  

JSA will draw upon the knowledge of governments, unions, industry and the wider community to understand current, emerging and future workforce needs, and skills and training issues. 

The Federal Government is committed to ensuring Jobs and Skills Australia is a trusted source of advice, delivering the evidence, research, and analysis that drives government policy, programs, and investment, business and industry planning, and informs the choices Australians make about their education, training and employment. 

The department welcomes feedback on the discussion paper from interested parties by 5pm AEDT,10 February 2023. You can provide responses to the questions in this paper through the online submission form and find all other associated details here

Of course, as always members are welcome to provide feedback to Neil Holmes for inclusion in our response at

3. The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) call for motions for the AGM 

ALGA is calling for councils in Australia to submit motions for the forthcoming 2023 National General Assembly (NGA), which will be held from 13-15 June at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.

A discussion paper providing further information, and outlining the criteria that motions must meet, can be downloaded here

Some members are exploring the possibility of submitting a motion to have Water and Wastewater Operators added to the Skilled Migrant occupation lists, facilitating the opportunity to attract these scarce resources internationally, as well as domestically. 

Motions are due by Friday 24 March 2023 and must be lodged online here. 

Please reach out on, if you would like more information about the process of submitting a motion.  

4. Essentials and Fundamentals Webinars 2023 

Engagement with members previously on desired topics for our webinars produced the following list: 

  • Drinking Water Quality Management Planning for Operators
  • Data Analytics and Trends (for SWIM and SWIM local users)
  • Leadership and Management
  • Cyber Security 

(A recent funding application by WSAA for training in the water sector on Cyber Security has been successful. qldwater is liaising with WSAA to understand what opportunities or materials will be available to qldwater members as a result and we will provide updates soon).

We'd like to take this opportunity to confirm that nothing has changed as we start to plan for the year ahead.

Please advise if you have any suggestions for presenters to cover these topics and if there are any other subjects that you feel should be covered in the future by email to

5. qldwater submission to the Education, Employment and Training Committee (EETC) Inquiry (23 January 2023) 

qldwater made a submission to the EETC Inquiry into the Delivery of VET in Regional, Rural and Remote Queensland on 23rd January 2023. The submission can be viewed in full on the qldwater website here – but, in summary, the submission concluded:

  • Water and sewerage functions are essential services for all communities and this needs to be recognised and considered by all Government, Regulators and agencies as a basic principle for legislation and support
  • It is critical that industry continues to partner with governments in the design and delivery of the VET system to ensure training outcomes are of a high standard and meet current and future employer needs 
  • Appropriately subsidised training is vital for water service providers throughout Queensland
  • Training methods and content must be flexible to respond to the ongoing needs of the industry
  • Funding packages must also be flexible to accommodate future training needs and designs
  • The specific issues and requirements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples need to be better considered and accommodated in the delivery of VET
  • Governments of all levels need to ensure the right conditions for the VET marketplace to operate effectively and efficiently are in place and safeguarded – a public provider is a vital component of this, as is sufficient competition / choice of VET providers 
  • Government, Regulators and Legislators must ensure that all barriers to VET are, as far as possible minimised, or better still, eliminated altogether
  • The newly appointed Queensland Government Inter Agency water working group will have an important role to play in ensuring that all agencies have greater cohesion in looking at the issues around VET training in the water industry, as well as the issues more broadly for the sector.

 6. Jobs and Skills Australia report released (25 January 2023) 

The Vocational Education and Training in Regional, Rural and Remote Australia Report, released by Jobs and Skills Australia, examines the availability and accessibility of vocational education and training (VET) for students outside of Australia’s capital cities. The report closed with the following conclusions: 

  • Emerging from the analysis within this report is a picture of varying engagement with VET across regional, rural and remote Australia. Local labour market and industry factors, as well as the practical constraints on regional and remote delivery, appear to be key drivers of the types of training that are delivered and accessed within Australia’s regions.
  • The constraints identified within this report include lower than average enrolments in any given qualification outside major cities, potentially large travel distances (and the requirement to access local delivery), fewer training providers in the market and a consequently larger reliance on a smaller number of RTOs.
  • These factors point toward a need to support delivery in regional and remote areas, with the breadth of qualifications on offer in regional and remote areas in general suggesting that the supports provided by jurisdictions are effective.

However, the report recognises that there are challenges around the information that available data provides – for example, RTO scope for delivery of training is based on head office location. 

More in-depth analysis would consider both what is approved to be delivered and the delivery locations that RTOs offer these options (requiring detailed market research).

The report can be accessed herefor those wanting more detail.

7. Industry Skills Advisor (ISA) Digital Survey Jobs Queensland 

As an ISA, qldwater was asked to provide responses to a digital survey produced by Jobs Queensland to investigate industry occupations that could benefit from the utility of employment-based learning (EBL).

The survey was completed and returned to Jobs Queensland in mid-January 2023, with sincere thanks going to Lee-Anne Willis (Water Industry Worker Coordinator) for her contribution and sharing of experience from our sector’s backyard. 

The process with Jobs Queensland will continue to roll out, and engagement with qldwater (amongst others) will be ongoing, so watch this space for future updates!

 8. Water Services Association Australia (WSAA) War for Talent Project 

The Water Industry is currently focussed on addressing the ‘War for Talent.’

Whilst a number of WSAA Members have recently developed reinvigorated EVPs, there is currently no comprehensive and focused promotion of the sector. There is an appreciation that the Water Industry is very invisible to many prospective employees and does not adequately market our key point of difference and capitalise on changing complementary trends such as climate change, sustainability and public health.

The key priority to improve attraction and retention of capability and to help create ‘The Industry of Choice’ should be the development and continuous investment in an Industry Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that involves development of collateral at an industry level.

qldwater has been invited to participate in the ongoing workshops that will continue to roll out through 2023. The latest meeting (which took place last week), was a discussion to give context and background to the appointed consultants on key issues and the landscape of the sector. qldwater stressed the key differences between many of the LGA WSPs and those of the large utilities and spoke of the need for materials developed to be reflective of the industry as a whole, recognising, speaking to and addressing those key points of difference.

qldwater will remain engaged in the process, continuing to ensure that all of our member’s perspectives are reflected in any discussions and outputs around the project.

If any of our members have completed EVP projects that they are willing to share, please send details to Neil Holmes at

9. Water Research Australia (WRA) - Water Operations Technical Competency Benchmark Project 

In November 2022, WRA commenced this project with the aim to bring industry and regulators together to develop a Technical Competency Benchmark that facilitates a consistent approach towards evaluation and implementation of competency, including:

  • Identification of roles, process mapping, training needs analysis, and knowledge and skills requirements
  • Nationally Accredited Training
  • National Registration
  • Maintenance of knowledge & skills

qldwater is part of the project representing the views and perspectives of members and to ensure the output of the work will take account of the particular challenges and issues our community of members face. 

qldwater were interviewed by the project researchers just before the Christmas 2022 break and provided – and will continue to provide – input as the project rolls out during 2023. 

We will update you all as the project unfolds.

Kind Regards,


qldwater is a business unit of IPWEAQ

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