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2021 QLD Industry Breakfast

The start of the technical program for the year was a cracker! The industry breakfast event is always popular, but this one was really special. With our great speakers, nice venue and opportunity to reconnect with colleagues (yes in person), we really kicked off 2021 with a bang!

After arriving at City Hall, I was directed down the hallway up to the lifts...  but I really didn’t need directions. You could feel the buzz in the air and hear the excitement of the water industry for the first AWA event of the year.

Our breakfast events are always popular, but after the year that was 2020, it was so energising to see many familiar faces and lots of new faces too.

What was extra special about this event is that it was the first breakky event to include regional hubs.... We’ve been working hard in QBranch to look at ways to engage more with our regional members (and even to just rethink engagement with our members in our new COVID world), and the hub model seems to be our way forward.

Queensland Branch President, Nicole Davis welcomed everyone from near and far with an acknowledgement of country that extended across our hubs.

The presentations were of the usual high standard you’d expect from an AWA event! Amanda Creevy from Unitywater kicked things off, with an outline of the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme (WIS). Amanda talked about the project itself, Unitywater’s sustainability goals, the importance of the scheme in achieving those goals and of course, the risks and challenges of establishing the scheme.

Kylie Porter, Chief Executive Officer of Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3) then took the floor to discuss the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday Water Strategy. With a very strong economic focus the Water Strategy has identified significant economic opportunities in the region, with the potential for the region to refocus on agriculture as many mines reach end of life.

Glenn Stockton from Sunwater spoke of Sunwater’s vision, climate change, major projects, the impact and importance of Sunwater working in regional communities, and Sunwater’s important focus of ensuring the right asset is delivered at the right time.

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Eva Wood from Jacobs (our sponsor for the event). The discussion covered all things topical in the industry – sustainability, the importance of customers, potable reuse, PFAS, the Bradfield scheme, water pricing, asset management and the role of government in water policy and planning.

Our panellists left us with some parting thoughts:

  • There will be a point in time where assets need to be repurposed. This provides an opportunity to support new and emerging industries.
  • As an industry we need to have a grasp on the future and what that looks like, anticipate the disruptors and keep pace with the change.
  • Set and forget is not going to cut it. Need to be fluid, agile and adaptable and ready for change.

Like QCon last year, the breakfast event was an opportunity not only to showcase the talent and innovation within the industry, but it was a great opportunity to reconnect with colleagues. In this new COVID world, connection is really important, so I’d encourage you to attend one of our next events face to face – either at the event location, or set up your own hub with some colleagues. We shouldn’t underestimate the value and importance of connection. AWA - Share, Connect, Inspire.