Changes to the Water Industry Skills Taskforce

01 Jul 2015

The Water Industry Skills Taskforce (WIST) was established in 2008 following a workshop convened by the Australian Water Association (AWA), the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) and the National Water Commission (NWC). The purpose of the workshop was primarily aimed at developing approaches to address a growing skills shortage in the water industry.

The AWA has led WIST activities since the establishment of the taskforce. Taskforce membership has changed over time to address emerging needs, while retaining a focus on WIST’s original role – to promote and oversee a nationally-coordinated effort to address the skills shortage in the water sector.

AWA indicated in early 2015 that it was no longer in a position to maintain its support of WIST and when the members met initially in February they resolved
 unanimously to continue the Taskforce in a modified form. The Queensland Water Directorate (qldwater) has been appointed as the Taskforce Secretariat for a period of 12 months and Dave Cameron was elected Chair. The Water Directorate has recently been invited to be a member of this Taskforce.

WIST’s purpose is to “facilitate collaboration in the water industry for ongoing access to quality education and training” with a renewed focus on skills outcomes for VET and professional fields, not specific occupations or qualifications. A revised Terms of Reference has been approved.

Short term priorities for the Taskforce include:

  • Revising Taskforce membership, with invitations to be made during May.
  • Representations to the federal Department of Education and Training to ensure WIST is recognised as the key body representing the water sector under the “New Arrangements for Training Product Development for Australian Industry and development of a general advocacy platform to government.
  • Finalise as far as possible work to date on the “Operators within Drinking Water Systems Certification Framework” and continue to lobby for its adoption.
  • Act as a champion for our industry and host for Government Skills Australia’s resources and initiatives, with the cessation of Industry Skills Councils.
  • Meet to strategically review other project opportunities.

Current WIST members include:

  • Queensland Water Directorate (Dave Cameron)
  • Australian Water Association (Jonathan McKeown, Amanda White)
  • Government Skills Australia (Peter Bernich)
  • Australian Services Union (John Harris)
  • GHD (Chris Hertle)
  • Coliban Water (David Sheehan)
  • Water Services Association of Australia (Adam Lovell, Peter Gee)
  • International Water Centre (Mark Pascoe)
  • Water Industry Operators Association of Australia (George Wall)
  • NSW Water Directorate (Gary Mitchell)

WIST intends to issue periodic communications through its members’ networks as its work program develops. For more information on WIST contact Dave Cameron on or 0407 761 991

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