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Draft Conference Program

(as at 16 May 2023)

Conference MC Geoff Brailey

Monday 26 June 2023

3.00pm–5.00pm Registration opens, Parkes Leagues Club, Level 1
5.30pm–7.30pm Welcome reception and registration
The Hart Bar

Premier Sponsor message Dr Annalisa Contos
Principal, Atom Consulting
Scott Phillips
Chief Executive Officer
Local Government NSW

Cr Ken Keith OAM
Parkes Shire Council

Tuesday 27 June 2023

8.15am–9.00am Conference registration opens, The Parkes Leagues Club, Level 1
Trade exhibition opens, Ground floor with arrival Tea and Coffee
9.00am–9.05am Conference opens
Introduction and overview of the day
Geoff Brailey, MC
9.05am–9.10am Welcome to Country
Wiradjuri Country
Geoff Anderson 
Parkes Wiradjuri Language Group Coordinator
representing the Wiradjuri people
9.10am–9.20am Welcome to Parkes Shire Cr Ken Keith OAM
Parkes Shire Council
9.20am–9.30am Opening Address Scott Phillips
Chief Executive Officer
Local Government NSW
9.30am–9.45am Federal Minister’s Address Tanya Plibersek MP (invited)
Minister for the Environment and Water
9.45am–10.00am NSW Minister’s Address Rose Jackson MLC
Minister for water 
10.00am–10.25am Department of Planning and Environment
DPE is responsible for water security and managing NSW water resources, including surface and groundwater management. DPE assists local water utilities through planning, policy and regulation to ensure quality water services are provided throughout NSW.
Amanda Jones
Deputy Secretary
Department of Planning and Environment
10.25am–10.30am Overview of Atlas Copco
10.30am–11.00am Morning Tea sponsored by Atlas Copco
11.00am–11.30am Panel Discussion

Addressing the challenges of providing quality water supply to rural and remote communities.
Vince Keogh
Chair, Manager Aboriginal Communities Water and Sewerage Program
Department of Planning and Environment

Sandy Leask
Senior Policy Adviser
NSW Health Water Unit

Leslie Jarvis
Senior Policy Advisor
NSW Health Water Unit

Danielle Francis
Manager, Policy and Advocacy
Water Services Association of Australia

Geoffrey Veneris
Production and Services Manager
Goldenfields Water
11.30am–11.35am Overview of GHD
11.35am–11.40am Delegates move to chosen Stream

Concurrent conference streams (Select one of the three streams)

STREAM 1 – Infrastructure

Location - Auditorium
11.40am–11.45am Stream Introduction and Overview
11.45am–12.10pm Using Risk to Assess Strategic Recommendations
Tamworth Regional Council and Beca Hunter H2O will explore their risk-based approach to assess capital assets, which has resulted in improving Tamworth Regional Council’s water network resilience, while also saving millions of dollars.
Naomi Schipanski
Manager Projects, Strategy and Infrastructure
Tamworth Regional Council

Daniel Alexander
Principal Planning Engineer
Beca HunterH2O
12.10pm–12.40pm Cobar's IWCM - An innovative change process to tackle failed infrastructure
Cobar Shire Council is faced with financial and infrastructure challenges that are unparalleled in other councils throughout rural NSW. Cobar faces the tyranny of distance in pumping water over 200km to townships. Cobar Shire Council has developed an Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy (IWCM) that includes a number of initiatives to address what is a complex situation. The IWCM is as an innovative, collaborative approach between consultants, council, the Cobar Water Board and DPE officers, to achieve realistic outcomes.
Victor Papierniak
Water & Sewer Manager
Cobar Shire Council

Mike Brearley
Mike Brearley & Associates Pty Ltd
12.40pm–1.10pm Declared dams in NSW

Declared dams in NSW are regulated by Dams Safety NSW under the Dams Safety Act 2015
Chris Salkovic
Chief Executive Officer
Dams Safety NSW

STREAM 2 – Innovation and Technology

STREAM SPONSOR – Infor Global Solutions (ANZ) Pty Ltd
Location - Pioneers Room

11.40am–11.45am Stream Introduction and Overview by Infor Global Solutions (ANZ Pty Ltd)
11.45am–12.10pm Water Smart Metering - Inception to Completion
Rohit Srivastava will discuss the life cycle of the project: from initiation to completion and the use of smart meters. Collecting the data is reducing water leakage and providing a better understanding of consumer consumption across four townships.
Mr Rohit Srivastava
Director Infrastructure
Berrigan Shire Council
12.10pm – 12.40pm An Australian first: cutting edge ceramic membranes
With the technical support of Isle Utilities, Narromine Shire Council has introduced the use of ceramic membranes, resulting in more resilient membranes, a lower carbon footprint, lower capital costs, requiring less maintenance and has the capacity to treat difficult water, allowing more options for water supply sources. The innovative technology targets a wide range of contaminants. 
Doug Moorby
Manager Utilities
Narromine Shire Council

Derek Atkinson 
Head of Global Benchmarking 
Isle Utilities
12.40pm–1.10pm Proactive water take compliance assessment in NSW: an overview of technologies and capabilities
This presentation will give an overview of why there is a need for proactive water take compliance monitoring. It will demonstrate how NRAR proactively monitors the landscape and state-wide databases for instances of potential non-compliance with water take rules and regulations. It will also showcase some of NRAR’s automated compliance dashboards, which provide a range of insights that allow the regulator to more effectively assess and manage water take compliance across the state.

Dr Ivars Reinfelds
Manager Spatial and Data Analytics

Dr June Song
Senior Data Analyst
Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR)

STREAM 3 – Resilience and recovery from drought, fire and floods

Location - Federation Room
11.40am–11.45am Stream Introduction and Overview by Autodesk Account Executive Ravi Ragnauth
11.45am–12.10pm Tweed Shire Council - A journey to Resilience
Brie Jowett will discuss Tweed Shire Council’s journey of resilience through the 2017 and 2022 floods, the COVID-19 pandemic and chemical shortages in 2022. Building back better and building resilient workforces and communities is a critical component of this journey.
Brie Jowett
Manager Water & Wastewater Operations
Tweed Shire Council
12.10pm–12.40pm From Drought Response to Water Resilience: A Journey of Mindset Shift
Rachel Abberton will discuss MidCoast Council’s "Drought Response Team" and the need to continue to prepare for droughts during La Niña events that bring heavy rain and flooding.
Robert Scott
Director of Infrastructure and Engineering Services
MidCoast Council

Maintaining Water and Sewer Services During a Major Flood

Lismore and the northern rivers were struck by several flood events that caused major disruption, including to the provision of drinking water.

Tom Lloyd and Rhys Oates will present on Rous County Council’s management and delivery of drinking water amid the flood events.

Mitchell Stace and Chenxi Zeng will discuss the delivery of sewer services in a separate flooding event.

Tom Lloyd
Dams and Treatment Engineering Manager Rous County Council

Rhys Oates
Dams and Treatment Assistant Leader
Rous County Council

Mitchell Stace
Manager Water Project Delivery

Chenxi Zeng
Manager of Water Management and Treatment
MidCoast Council
1.10pm–2.10pm Lunch sponsored by GHD
2.10pm–5.00pm Sites Visit - Sponsored by TRILITY

Parkes Shire Council will showcase its state-of-the-art infrastructure, including Water Treatment Plant, Wastewater Treatment Plant, Recycled Water Treatment Plan, and the Akuna Road Wetlands, rehabilitated maturation ponds that are now a thriving wetland system supporting a diverse range of native flora and fauna.

Water Directorate Forum


  1. Water Directorate activities wrap-up
  2. Circular Economy
  3. Training and Collaboration
  4. Micro Credentials - what are they and what's available in water?

Conference Dinner Proudly sponsored by NSW Water Directorate

Presentation of the Sam Samra Award 2023

Entertainment: Paul Fenech as Elvis
Guest Speaker: John Sarkissian OAM, The Dish and the Moon 

Wednesday 28 June 2023

8.15am–9.00am Conference registration opens, The Parkes Leagues Club, Level 1
Trade exhibition opens, Ground floor with arrival Tea and Coffee
Tea and Coffee sponsored by NSW Public Works
9.00am–9.05am Overview of the day Geoff Brailey, MC
9.05am–10.05am Panel Discussion – A Water Work Force for the Future

Local Water Utilities are experiencing a skills shortage crisis nation-wide. Measures to address the crisis by increasing skills and capacity are desperately required to reduce risk, support job growth and ensure safe and reliable water and sewerage services for NSW communities. This session will explore short to long term strategies.
Grant Leslie
Balmoral Group
David Kirby
General Manager
Brewarrina Shire Council

Melissa Wortman
Senior Adviser Skills, Training and Workforce Development, DPE

Danielle Francis
Manager, Policy and Advocacy
Water Services Association of Australia
 10.05am-10.35am Managing Drinking Water During Extreme Events

In recent years, NSW water supplies have been threatened by extreme events including droughts, fires and floods. This discussion will provide insights to the lessons learnt from some of these experiences, enabling improved future resilience. 
Professor Stuart Khan
Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales (UNSW)
10.35am–10.40am Overview of UtiliOS
10.40am–11.10am Morning Tea sponsored by UtiliOS
11.10am–11.50am Panel Discussion – Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.

This session will explore the pros and cons of dam infrastructure for water supply and flood mitigation, versus the impact dams have on surrounding land, ecosystems, and local communities.
Cate Faehrmann MLC
The Greens (pre-record)

Bruce Logan

Chair, Director Water and Waste
Tamworth Regional Council (TBC)

Ashraf El-Sherbini
Director, Urban Water Strategy, Policy and Programs
Department of Planning and Environment

Professor Stuart Khan
Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Cr Bill West
Cowra Shire Council
11.50am–12.25pm Cybersecurity issues facing local water utilities
The increasing threat of cyber-attacks on government infrastructure, including local water utilities, poses a substantial risk to councils. This presentation will highlight the work being done by Cyber Security NSW through the sector wide 2021 NSW Cyber Security Strategy and its implications for local water utilities.
This session will also include a real-world experience of a ransomware incident experienced by Riverina Water, lessons learned and measures implemented to safeguard their operations.
Natasha Steele
Manager Vulnerability Management Centre
Cyber Security NSW

Andrew Crakanthorp
Chief Executive Officer
Riverina Water County Council
12.25pm–12.40pm Supporting local councils in preparing for / responding to climate volatility
The Bureau of Meteorology is best placed to support councils in establishing resilient infrastructure and communities in the face of increasing climate volatility.
Matt Coulton
General Manager Agriculture and Water Bureau of Meteorology 
12.40pm–1.05pm Town Water Risk Reduction Program
Phase 2 The NSW Government has invested $32.8 million to provide greater support for councils and Local Water Utilities. The Department of Planning and Environment will outline a suite of new initiatives that will form Phase 2 of the Town Water Risk Reduction Program.
Jane Shepherd
Director, Local Water Utilities
Department of Planning and Environment
1.05pm–1.10pm Message from Hunter H2O
1.10pm–2.10pm Lunch sponsored by Beca HunterH2O
2.10pm–2.40pm Panel Discussion – Collaborative approach to water management 

This session will explore the benefits of alliances and collaborations between local water utilities and peak bodies, the private sector and government agencies to address challenges and opportunities.
Corinne Cheeseman
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Water Association

George Wall
Managing Director
Water Industry Operators Association of Australia

Andrew Francis
Director Infrastructure
Parkes Shire Council
2.40pm–2.45pm Overview by NSW Public Works
2.45pm–3.15pm Net Zero Councils - Sewage and Water Treatment Efficiency Toolkit

The Sustainable Councils program has been working to develop Net Zero targets for regional councils in NSW and help them develop plans and strategies for their journey to Net Zero. Working in collaboration with technical experts, Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) and Water Treatment Plants (WTP) have been identified as high energy users for Councils and in need of specific guidance within their Net Zero journey. This presentation will outline the components of a Net Zero Guide with a toolkit and business case template for STP’s and WTPs.

Lisa Miller
Senior Project Officer
Office of Energy and Climate Change

3.15pm–3.45pm Water as an economic driver – Parkes Shire Council

Parkes Special Activation Precinct, an initiative identified as part of the NSW Government’s 20-year Economic Vision for Regional NSW, provides a unique challenge for council, to provide both town water for residents and to secure water to attract business and investors, support local industries and fuel economic development. This presentation will outline how water has become an economic driver for council.
Cr Ken Keith OAM

Kent Boyd PSM
General Manager

Andrew Francis
Director Infrastructure
Parkes Shire Council
3.45pm–3.50pm MC, wrap-up and close of conference

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