COVID Recovery - Regional Stimulus

Posted by: Brendan Guiney on 06/05/2020
The Australian Government has called for increased investment in infrastructure as we look to recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Resilient water services are a critical enabler for regional economic development. Investment in essential water infrastructure has a strong economic multiplier effect.

The cost to government and local economies of not having safe and secure water supplies is enormous. This has been especially apparent in the wake of the worst drought in NSW in 120 years, exacerbated by a massive bushfire season, floods and water quality challenges when the rain arrived, and now the pandemic. Increased resilience is required to better withstand these challenges in the future.

We are advocating for Commonwealth investment in resilient water services in partnership with the Australian Water Association and the Water Services Association of Australia. Our campaign is for rapid and smart investment in the following areas:

  1. 'Shovel ready' capital projects - building infrastructure to respond to drought, provide safe drinking water and service reliability.
  2. Developing our people - operating complex treatment systems and networks requires operators trained to high standards, knowledgeable in the latest technology.
  3. Water utility business excellence - implementing the latest asset management and risk management approaches, and most importantly - investing in digital utilities - harnessing the latest in automation, remote operation and data analytics.
The second and third areas represent 'non-asset solutions' - working smarter with the infrastructure we already have. They also have the advantage of being rolled out quickly with comparison to large infrastructure projects which often have long lead times.

Any investment program in the regions needs to have regard for the capacity of Small to Medium Enterprises (SME's) and have criteria for local employment to boost regional economies in Australia.

Water security underpins physical and mental well-being, both in our cities and regional towns.

  

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