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What's Your Water Story? - 'Communication is Key'

Hashem Samirani is the Coordinator – Process Systems at Burdekin Shire Council. With a background in chemical engineering and a Master of Business Administration, Hashem also holds a Cert IV in Water Industry Treatment. We met up with Hashem to discuss his views on the water industry.

What drew you into the water industry?

I worked as a chemical engineer in Iran in the oil and gas industry, specifically on the water process units which is a complicated system. I moved to Australia in March 2019, following my older twin brothers who had moved to Sydney. I wanted a better quality of life with stability and more career opportunities. I was hired by the Burdekin Shire Council and moved to North Queensland in September 2019.

I am lucky to have great colleagues at the Burdekin Shire Council. I arrived in Brandon on my own and was welcomed with open arms. I am a Permanent Resident which was an expensive and lengthy process, getting accreditation as a professional engineer and passing the required English tests. I become an Australian citizen in 2023 which I am looking forward to. My partner is a local who works in the Aged Care industry, and we are expecting our first baby girl in March 2022.

Who or what do you draw inspiration from?

My twin brothers! They are 7 years older, and both are professional engineers. I’ve looked up to them my whole life. It’s better to join them than be against them!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love reading novels, I am a huge fan of Russian novelists – Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, etc. Our imagination leads the way and reading novels is a way to tap into that imagination.

What do you believe is currently the greatest challenge for your part of the water industry?

For me, the biggest challenge is communication because English is my second language. I’ve devoted my whole life to improving myself but sometimes it’s frustrating. I’ve learned to adjust my communication style to the audience, which is important, not only to me but to the water industry.

Broadly, getting proficient and competent people in the water industry all around Australia is a challenge. There is an average 6-month timeline for recruitment of an operator – if you’re lucky. The focus needs to be on skills and qualifications.

How do you consider your organisation benefits from most by being a corporate member of the Australian Water Association?

The whole thing is just communication with other industry workers – you know what’s happening and you keep up with the technologies being used. Communication is key. Sharing lessons learned and collaborating with other water utilities is critical especially across regional Queensland given our unique operating environment.

What messages would you like to give to your colleagues in the Queensland water sector?

The whole thing is to keep up with technology and not fall behind. We need to enhance our knowledge in the industry – read, gain knowledge, ask questions and keep up to date.


The QLD Source Editorial committee is always thinking about how to better engage with our broader membership. Do you have a diverse background or experience you would like to share? Do let us know if you would like a chat by the bubbler…