Queensland - Water Regional Alliances Program

Assisting and promoting regional collaboration is a primary function of LGAQ and qldwater. The two organisations have been working jointly on regional collaboration initiatives for the urban water industry since 2006 and this program was expanded in June 2010 with a joint Memorandum of Understanding with the Queensland Government (now the Department of Energy and Water Supply or DEWS).

Regional collaboration was called into focus strongly in early 2011 with the release of the three national reviews of the urban water industry that were critical of Queensland and NSW water sectors. For example, the Productivity Commission called for Queensland and NSW State Governments to review institutional arrangements to seek greater economies of scale for water service providers.

LGAQ has responded by developing an industry-led review of potential collaborative arrangements and has successfully sought funding support from the State until December 2014. The aim of the Program is to determine the risks and benefits of different collaboration models. Three pilot regions self-selected to take part in QWRAP and have been joined by a fourth group (Whitsunday ROC) as part of the extension of the project in October 2013. 

The project is now being implemented by LGAQ which has appointed qldwater as the program manager for the program. The Program seeks to develop pilot regions across the state where the potential benefits and disadvantages or greater collaboration and institutional change can be investigated by self-selected groups of councils.

Pilot Regions

The program allows for review and support processes in four pilot regions. The following regions have agreed to particpate in the project.

Region 1

The Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) group of councils has confirmed participation in the program including inkind and cash contributions to review collaborative arrangements for provision of water services across their member councils. 

Councils in the RAPAD region including Barcaldine, Longreach, Boulia, Diamantina and Barcoo agreed in 2013 to proceed to trial the RAPAD Regional Water Alliance – a recommendation from their QWRAP investigation. The formation of this alliance will be facilitated through successful application for funding through the Improving Financial Management and Sustainability Scheme (IFMSS) pool from the Department of Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience. The total cost of this project is $196,000 and initial activities to set up and commence operations of the Alliance are proceeding in early 2014.

RAPAD members may access the restricted QWRAP-RAPAD page here

Region 2

The Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQRoC) includes Cassowary Coast, Cairns, Etheridge, Croydon, Cook and Tablelands Regional Councils.  The group is set to commence a report of water and sewerage operations early in 2014 after recently completing a detailed study of the potential for alternative institutional arrangements across the six councils involved. This draft review is currently being reviewed by the technical committee to be provided to the ROC at their first meeting of 2014 in February.

Region 3

The Wide Bay Burnet Regional Organisation of Councils includes North Burnett, Bundaberg, Gympie, South Burnett and Fraser Coast Regional Councils. The group was also successful with IFMSS funding and has commenced a project with a budget of $92,000 to investigate key collaborative activities for water and sewerage in the region. This project will analyse four identified priority areas for collaboration to identify costs and benefits for participating councils and for the region as a whole.

Region 4

The Whitsunday Regional Organisation of Councils, comprising Whitsunday, Mackay and Isaac Regional Councils, is set to commence a review of water and sewerage operations early in 2014.