A word from the CEO – March 2023

This month we celebrate International Women’s Day, and it’s a good time to reflect on how we are progressing towards gender diversity and equity in the Victorian water sector.

Each year in March, VicWater publishes an annual performance report against the Water Industry Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which shows how the industry is meeting its diversity targets including 50:50 gender balance in senior leadership positions. This year’s report (based on data at 30 June 2022) will show that we are making strong progress with female Managing Directors at 44% and female General Managers at 44.2% - significant increases from previous years. However, at the next management level down, the percentage of females has remained fairly steady at 38%.

Of course, gender equity is not just about the numbers, it’s about culture, attitudes and behaviours that support full and equal participation in the workplace regardless of gender. Last month we hosted a joint event between VicWater’s Women in Water Directors Network and DEECA’s Insights Program, which brought together board directors and executives to discuss how we can lead and support gender equity, and create change to enable a thriving workforce. Key themes emerging from the discussion included a focus on providing a culturally safe environment for people to speak up and take risks, and thinking differently about leadership and the roles leaders play within their organisation and the sector as a whole. VicWater will continue to support these important conversations and look for opportunities to help our members to translate them into action.

I’ll end this note with a warm welcome to the two newest recruits to the VicWater team. Jason Cotton has recently been appointed as Program Director for Intelligent Water Networks (IWN). Jason has had a long involvement with IWN through his previous role at Greater Western Water, and I know he will bring great energy and passion to ensuring this very successful program continues to deliver “tomorrow’s water innovations today”.

I’m also delighted that Tara Daniel is taking up the Chief Operating Officer role on a permanent basis, having been with us on secondment from Goulburn Valley Water for the past 12 months. Tara has become an integral part of the VicWater team and will continue to help shape and drive our work with members across a range of groups and activities.