Regionalisation and amalgamation of local government water utilities occurred in Victoria in the 1990s, and in South East Qld and Tasmania commencing in 2007. Following these changes, regional Queensland and NSW are the last areas in Australia where water services are owned and operated by numerous local governments. Reform of the Queensland industry has been a matter of industry discussion for some time, particularly following Local Government amalgamations in 07/08; and the extended period of (often reversed) SEQ institutional restructures.
In acknowledgement of the possibility of institutional reform in regional Queensland, qldwater and LGAQ formed a program in 2008 to improve LG access to relevant information for making informed decisions about their future water business arrangements. Activities include commissioning research and discussion papers to inform the industry, initiating discussion at numerous local government forums, and creating the Local Government Future of the Industry Taskforce. The Taskforce questioned wholesale restructure of the regional water sector and developed a list of 10 Principles as a foundation for any future changes (see documents below).
This program was expanded in June 2010 with the creation of a joint Memorandum of Agreement with the Queensland Government (now the Department of Energy and Water Supply or DEWS). This agreement has been renewed by successive governments to the present time.
In 2011 qldwater and LGAQ partnered with the Queensland government to create the Queensland Water Regional Alliances Program (QWRAP) which has been the primary driver of regionalisation since that date.
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