Environmental Stewardship: Caring for Country and advancing sustainability in the Victorian water sector

The Victorian water industry demonstrates unwavering commitment to addressing the challenges of our changing climate through innovative strategies, sustainable practices, and collaborative efforts.
The 2024 conference will focus on the environment as we explore how to care for Country and embrace environmental stewardship.
Through insightful discussions and shared experiences, we aim to inspire a collective dedication to ensuring a resilient and sustainable water future for generations to come.


Tuesday 10 September

WWDN Event
4:30 pm to 6 pm
, Flinders Room, The Langham Melbourne

6 pm to 7.30 pm: Delegates are invited for a relaxed catch up in the Aria Bar, Podium Level,
The Langham Melbourne. It’s a chance to catch up with peers, grab a drink and light bite.

Wednesday 11 September

Conference Day 1 Program
Registration, The Ballroom Foyer
9 am to 5 pm:
Conference, The Ballroom, The Langham Melbourne

Annual Conference Dinner
6.30 pm:
Pre-Dinner Drinks, The Ballroom Foyer
7 pm: Sit down Dinner, The Ballroom, The Langham Melbourne

Thursday 12 September

Conference Day 2 Program
8:45 am to 1 pm:
 The Ballroom, The Langham Melbourne

Day 1 Program

Wednesday 11 September

Come visit the friendly VicWater Registration to collect your name lanyard, then grab a cuppa, network with other delegates and check out our sponsor trade displays.

Jo Lim, VicWater CEO will provide a brief welcome and housekeeping before our official ‘Welcome to Country’ commences.

The Welcome to Country will be provided by a representative from the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.

The VicWater Conference will be hosted on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung peoples, as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land. We pay our deepest respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

David Middleton, VicWater Chair will provide the Official Welcome and give context to the conference program’s theme, Environmental Stewardship: Caring for Country and advancing sustainability in the Victorian water sector.

The Hon. Harriet Shing MP, Minister for Water, Victorian Government will provide a Ministerial Water Update.

Prof. Tim Flannery, global thought leader and environmental champion will commence our journey through the 2 day conference program with a keynote presentation focused on the environment and sustainability.

Join us for Morning Tea in the Ballroom Foyer

Phin Zeibell, Head of Research, TCV

Climate change is expected to see a drying trend across south-eastern Australia, punctuated by episodes of extreme rainfall as La Nina and El Nino events become more common. This poses a challenge for Victoria’s agriculture sector, across both dryland and irrigated operations, livestock and cropping. It will also challenge Victoria’s water supplies. This presentation considers some of the risks as well as possible opportunities for investment.


Steve Cusworth, Managing Director, FPL Advisory


  • Rebecca Billings, Commissioner, ESC
  • Lee Miezis, Chief Executive Officer, EPA
  • Kasper Maat, Director, Regulatory Compliance and Operations – Environment, Dept. Health

Maintaining good regulatory outcomes in an increasingly challenging economy. How do we balance health, environment and customer?

The Victorian water sector’s key regulators: the Essential Services Commission, the Environment Protection Authority and Department of Health join to discuss their respective regulatory postures and visions for delivering a comprehensive regulatory framework for Victoria’s water sector.

Facilitated by Tai Hollingsbee, Head of Sustainability, Asia Pacific, GHD


  • Jo Murdoch, Managing Director, North East Water
  • Nerina di Lorenzo, Managing Director, Melbourne Water

Businesses are changing to understand, measure and meet targets relating to a myriad of sustainability ambitions. Culture, decision making and changing the behaviour of groups of people in a business, is complex.

In this session we will explore GHD’s experience working with global brands like Apple and McDonald’s, on their sustainability transformation journey.  We will compare this with work that the Victorian water sector is undertaking now, and the role of leadership in driving this change, to benefit our communities. We will ask: How can small changes have a meaningful impact and broader benefits to the customer?

Join us for Lunch in the Ballroom Foyer

Dr. Katrina Wruck will present a high-level, digestible literature review on the latest advancements in PFAS removal and destruction from water and biosolids. She will cover current adsorption and destruction technologies, including electro-oxidation, advanced oxidation processes (including photo-catalysis and electro-Fenton), pyrolysis, plasma, sonolysis, and biodegradation. Her presentation will explore these methods, comparing the current state to future advancements, and provide government and industry professionals with insights on enhancing environmental stewardship and sustainability in the Victorian water sector.

Dr Katrina Wruck is an early career Research Fellow in the School of Chemistry and Physics at Queensland University of Technology and a proud Mabuigilaig/Goemulgal (Torres Strait Islander) woman.

Katrina is dedicated to finding innovative, green solutions for industrial and environmental challenges, focusing on emerging contaminants of concern in the environment.

Tony Kelly, Director, Aptumo Australia

Join us for Afternoon Tea in the Ballroom Foyer

Steve Avery, Head of Smart Cities and Digital Twin Program, NCS

Hosted by Jason Cotton, Program Director, IWN

Conference sessions conclude for Day 1

Join us for the Annual Conference Dinner in the Langham Ballroom.

Enjoy pre dinner drinks and a sit down 3 course meal as you have a chance to catch up with old friends and make new connections to expand your network.

Day 2 Program

Thursday 12 September

Jo Lim, VicWater CEO returns to MC Day 2 of the Conference.

Victor Steffensen is a descendant of the Tagalaka people from the Gulf Country of North Queensland. Victor holds a Doctorate of Environmental Science and is an Indigenous writer, filmmaker, musician and consultant applying traditional knowledge values in a contemporary context through creative, practical and artistic projects.

Much of his work over the past thirty years has been based on the arts and reviving traditional knowledge for community and environmental challenges, particularly Aboriginal fire management, through mentoring, leadership, and on-ground training with Aboriginal and non-indigenous communities both nationally and internationally.

Join us for Morning Tea in the Ballroom Foyer

This panel session will feature speakers from the Birrarung Council and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, who will talk about their respective organisations and the work they are doing to walk together with Traditional Owners towards self-determination and restorative justice in the water sector.

Maria Marshall, Partner, Planning and Environment, Public Law, Maddocks

Three years after its commencement, this session will briefly recap on the environmental duties under the Environment Protection Act 2017, including director obligations and the way they have been applied in Victoria and in NSW.  The focus of the session will be a case study based on the Sydney Water v EPA scenario and some Victorian examples as well.


Melinda Knapp, Executive Director Resilient Cities and Towns, DEECA

David Middleton, VicWater Chair, and Jo Lim, VicWater CEO host the Interactive wrap up session to assist in consolidating the key take-aways from the conference program.

Join us for a stand up lunch in the Ballroom foyer before departing the 2024 Annual Conference.


Tim Flannery
Professor Tim Flannery
Victor Steffenson
The Hon. Harriet Shing
Minister for Water
David Middleton
Chair, VicWater
Jo Lim
Jo Lim
CEO, VicWater
Phin Ziebell
Head of Research, TCV
Rebecca Billings
Commissioner, ESC
Lee Miezis
Kasper Maat
Director, Regulatory Compliance and Operations (Environment), Dept. Health
Dr Katrina Wruck
Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Physics, Queensland University of Technology
Steve Cusworth
Managing Director at FPL Advisory
Maria Marshall
Partner, Maddocks
Jason Cotton
Program Director, Intelligent Water Networks (IWN)
Tai Hollingsbee
Head of Sustainability, Asia Pacific, GHD

Full Speaker List to be confirmed.


The Langham Melbourne – 1 Southgate Ave, Southbank VIC 3006

Our brilliant venue is The Langham, Melbourne. With sweeping vistas of the Yarra River and Melbourne skyline, you will find The Langham located amidst the city’s Arts and Leisure precinct, along the famous Southbank Boulevard.

Attendees will enjoy morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea each day, plus a ticket to attend the Annual Conference Dinner on Wednesday evening.

For those arriving on Tuesday evening, we invite you to join us for a welcome drink in the Aria Bar (Podium Level) from 6pm.


The Langham

The Langham Hotel offers 388 rooms and suites, each with a magnificent view of the Yarra River or city skyline.

VicWater has reserved a small number of rooms at a special rate, for those seeking the convenience of accommodation at the Conference venue.

All rooms include a full buffet breakfast, and in-room high speed internet. Onsite parking is additional.

Payment is to be made directly to the hotel for your accommodation only. Please note rooms are subject to availability.

Book early to secure our special discount.


VicWater Members include all staff and board directors from the 18 Victorian water authorities and Associate Members.

Please contact us if you require further details.

Please note parking and accommodation are not included in your Conference ticket.

No, parking and accommodation are not included in the Conference tickets.

For delegates staying at The Langham, parking is additional to your accommodation.

While VicWater and The Langham will try our best to accommodate special dietary requirements, we can only accommodate requests if notified prior to the event.

Please ensure you complete this item during registration.

Please refer to our cancellation policy below.

This event will be recorded and available to watch on replay.

Participants participating in Q&A and/or workshops understand and agree that any comments or activities including photography, film, quotes, and/or recordings during this event may be used in VicWater publications and promotional materials.


Don’t miss your chance to be part of our premier event. Tailored exclusively to senior management and board directors, the VicWater Annual Conference aims to challenge and provoke the issues that matter and shape the Victorian water industry.

Secure your place now!

Conference Ticket Includes:

  • Welcome Drinks (Tuesday Evening)
  • 2-Day Program (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • Annual Conference Dinner (Wednesday Night)
  • Access to the full Program Replay
VicWater Members:  $1,900 +GST
Non-Members: $2,200 +GST
Ticket sales close 2 September 2024

If you are unable to attend the Conference, you have the following options:

  1. You may transfer your in-person ticket to another board or staff member from your organisation to attend in your place. Please contact us to arrange a ticket transfer if required.
  2. You may cancel your ticket and receive a 100% refund. This may be done no later than Friday 30 August 2024 (12 days prior). After this date we can only issue a refund in accordance with the Extenuating Circumstances conditions outlined below.

Extenuating circumstances

Where extenuating circumstances apply, VicWater will reasonably consider a request for a cancellation outside the cut-off times specified above. The request must be in writing and must outline the relevant extenuating circumstances.

‘Extenuating circumstances’ include if you or a close family member have a serious illness or injury, or if you have other compelling personal reasons.

Where VicWater consents to a cancellation in extenuating circumstances, a partial refund of $1,100* will apply:

*Based on third-party venue, catering and technical costs that VicWater has already incurred and is unable to recover at the time of the request.


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Be a Sponsor at a VicWater event.

Sponsorship is a brilliant way of getting your organisation’s message in front of senior and influential members of the water industry.
VicWater provides opportunities for recognition at a range of events such as Workshops, Webinars, Forums and Conferences.
VicWater proudly acknowledge the Traditional Owners and true Custodians of the land and waters where we live and work. We pay our upmost respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
At VicWater we are also proud to celebrate, value and include people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, cultures and abilities.
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