WA returns metro water to public following review

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday November 28, 2019

Perth Western Australia
Perth. (Getty Images)

The Western Australian government will reverse the privatisation of its metropolitan water production and wastewater treatment services.

The Water Corporation has delivered these services in partnership with Suez Water Pty Ltd, and Broadspectrum, as part of the Aroona Alliance, since 2012.

The alliance has managed the operation and maintenance of water, wastewater and recycling plants, dams, groundwater bores and trunk mains in the greater Perth metropolitan area.

But the Water Corporation’s board recently decided to return the services to the state following an internal review of the alliance delivery model.

Under the reversal, roughly 170 Aroona Alliance employees would be granted continued employment with Water Corporation, and would transfer to the body by the end of June 2020.

Premier Mark McGowan said scrapping the privatisation would lead to better services and would save taxpayers roughly $2 million a year.

“This decision to in-source metropolitan water production and wastewater treatment services is responsible one that will benefit the community for years to come and is a great result for about 170 local workers,” he said.

The reversal would give Water Corporation control over its maintenance and operations within the metropolitan area, allowing it to better respond to growing issues, according to Water Minister Dave Kelly.

“This decision will position the Water Corporation well for the future, ensuring it has the resilience to continue to respond to the impacts of climate change and a growing state, in an efficient and cost-effective way,” he said.

In August, the state government announced it would transition metropolitan network operations and maintenance services back into the Water Corporation by March 2020, bringing with it more than 250 privatised jobs. This would ensure consistent services be delivered across the state, McGowan had said.

Meanwhile, new appointments have been made to the Water Corporation Board.

Lawyer Gningala Yarran-Mark has taken the role of board member for a term of three years. She currently works with United Group Limited where she co-ordinates its commitments under its Reconciliation Action Plan. She also sits on the boards of Fairbridge College and Derbarl Yerrigan Health Services. 

Yarran-Mark would help the Water Corporation deliver its own reconciliation plan, Kelly said.

Chair Michael Hollett, deputy chair David Lock, and members Dr Jemma Green and Ross Holt have been reappointed to their roles.


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