We are aware that most organisations are immersed in business continuity planning and while it’s very difficult to speculate on how long this will all last, this is the best information we have at present.
- There is little change to the way qldwater is working at the moment. Most of our staff are already geared for teleworking with travel being a normal and significant part of our business.
- The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy has initiated a working group looking at critical operations skills and potential for support from larger utilities. It met via teleconference for the first time on Wednesday, and you can expect to see information requests coming to you through us or the department in the fairly near future. We are all hoping the COVID planning is a bit of over-reaction but the staff capacity issue they are trying to address is one we have been raising now for some years and at the very least this looks like a good opportunity to increase visibility of an important and increasing risk for the Qld sector.
- There hasn’t been a significant response to our earlier request around emerging supply chain issues – the shortage of laboratory materials including reagents appears to be the most common concern. We have communicated this information to our various regulators and will provide advice back as we receive it, but believe that the common-sense approach to managing dwindling supplies of materials is understood and will be taken into consideration should any compliance risks arise. Please keep providing examples.
- There is no immediate change to our position on qldwater events, but that could be modified soon.
The qldwater rationale is as follows:
- Our events are designed to support regional members and, subject to national or state advice or restrictions, we will rely on our members to determine when to progress.
- Our immediate upcoming events are small, local and able to be managed taking into account hygiene recommendations, including online options available for organisations or individuals that are unable to attend.
- We will not do anything to risk health of our regional communities but with sensible precautions will seek to provide regional communities with options to stay in contact and continue collaboration essential for facing issues such as the current health crisis.
- We do not rely on events for income and seek only cost-recovery. As a result we probably have a little longer than most associations to make decisions. Rest assured if you’ve sponsored or registered for an event which doesn’t proceed, we’ll sort it out. If you are a sponsoring organisation and wish to withdraw due to the uncertainty now, let us know, we will happily organise refunds.
Our next conference planned for Gympie on 23/24 April and the Small/ Remote Communities workshop planned for Goondiwindi for 13/14 May (and rest of the Water Connections Tour) are clearly at risk, but as of the start of this week, both of these hosts were keen to proceed.
As per eFlash #424, please contact us at any time to raise questions or concerns and we will do our best to source useful information for you. There has been a steady stream of enquiries in the last fortnight; apologies if there is a delay in responding.
Don’t forget our Zoho forum set up for these issues (https://connect.zoho.com/portal/qldwater/group/covid-19). At the moment there are 150 or so users registered for this but plenty of members who aren’t but can be if they wish. We have in the last 24 hours posted some good stuff – e.g. Fraser Coast Regional Council’s draft Management Plan and a number of useful links to trusted sources.