It was so wonderful to have more than 200 delegates join us in person and online for our Annual Conference on 8-9 June. I particularly enjoyed the chance to catch up with old friends and connect with many people who are new to our industry. We heard from a range of expert speakers and panellists who helped us unpack what being ‘resilient and ready’ means for the water sector – you can read more about the program highlights in the conference wrap-up.
Among the many accomplished and thoughtful speakers who generously shared their insights and expertise with the audience, I would call out two who really challenged us as a sector to think deeply about the role we hold within the broader community and our vision for a better future. The first was Cheryl Batagol, a very well-known figure in our industry, who encouraged us to be thought-leaders and advocates for an integrated circular economy in our state.
The second was Brendan Kennedy, perhaps less well-known but no less impactful, who spoke seriously and passionately about water rights and water justice for Traditional Owners. With only 0.2% of water in Victoria currently allocated to Traditional Owners, Brendan offered the provocative idea that the figure should be 100% with Traditional Owners in charge of water allocations to the rest of the community. This is certainly something for us to ponder, especially as we celebrate the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during national NAIDOC Week.
Delivering the Annual Conference was a huge team effort and I would like to thank VicWater staff Tara Daniel, David Sheehan, Fee Boucher, Linna Fang for all their hard work, and special mention to Lauren Vines for her successful management of the event.
Moving forward, we are already planning our next VicWater event, an Audit & Risk Symposium on Thursday 8 September in Melbourne CBD. This will be a one day program featuring sessions on finance, audit, governance, risk and assurance practices within complex delivery environments. Look out for further information when registrations open later this month.