MD Forum Tour and Reconciliation Week  – Hosted by North East Water

By Tara Daniel, Chief Operating Officer, VicWater

MD Forums are held bi-monthly and involve the Managing Directors from the 18 Victorian water corporations meeting to discuss issues and topics that benefit from a collective and collaborative approach. These forums are facilitated by VicWater, with our purpose of 'being better together'.

Every second MD Forum is hosted by a water corporation. Last week, (1 & 2 June) we had the pleasure of being hosted by North East Water and were taken on a site tour to see some of the incredible work being undertaken across the sector, which is a real highlight of my role!

It was fantastic to see the great work that is being done around circular economy at their West Wodonga Waste Treatment Facility. Then the exceptionally innovative yet simple concept of their safety training pod, which allows operators to test equipment in a controlled manner and undertake training in an environment that is relevant to the water sector without having to travel and leave their families.

The highlight of the trip was on Friday, when I was fortunate enough to join in North East Water’s Reconciliation Week celebrations where their Independent Aboriginal Delegate, Johnny Murray, spoke about his experience at North East Water and shared what reconciliation meant to him. It was a fascinating hour with so many interesting stories, I particularly enjoyed hearing about Johnny’s sporting career successes.

The key outcome for me though, was the insight into the richness of the Independent Aboriginal Delegate program where the purpose is to develop the skills and experience for the delegate to become a full director in the water sector. Hearing Jo Murdoch speak of the cultural insights and advice to how to navigate the complexity of First Nations groups in the region really brought home what a great program this is. It really emphasised the benefits of diversity within our boards, and that the easiest thing to do to build relationships, is to have a conversation.