Greater Western Water: a new era

On 1 July 2021, City West Water and Western Water will integrate to form a new water corporation - Greater Western Water.

This is a new era for the delivery of water services across Melbourne’s outer-western region.

Over the next 30 years, the population of Melbourne’s west is expected to double.

This rapid growth across our two neighbouring service areas has meant we have needed to look at new ways of doing things to ensure water supply security and affordable services well into the future.

Informed by a strategic review, we have worked closely with the Victorian Government to make the decision to form a new water corporation in the interests of all City West Water and Western Water customers.

It’s not a decision we’ve made lightly

We have worked together to find this best solution, which will lead to better service, more secure water availability and put downward pressure on costs for the fast-growing outer-western region.

It’s an exciting step forward to ensure we can meet the needs of everyone today living and working in the diverse and vibrant communities of our city and the west, as well as the growing demand for new infrastructure and services.

Our new name will be Greater Western Water

Though our name will change from July next year, our focus on delivering the best customer experiences and high quality, affordable services to you will remain.

We’ll support our people and customers to smoothly transition into one organisation and look forward to both carrying on our proud traditions and creating new opportunities to partner in community life.

More information and next steps

We now begin the work to bring City West Water and Western Water together. We’ll keep you up-to-date and involved in this over the coming months.

If you have questions, read on to see if we’ve answered it below or contact us – we’re here to help.

FAQs

Here’s a range of questions and answers about the integration to Greater Western Water and what this means for you:

What will happen to the City West Water and Western Water brands?

Both brands will remain in use until 30 June 2021. After this date, we will transition to a single name and brand -Greater Western Water.

Are water costs likely to rise?

The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring Victoria has sustainable, reliable and affordable water services now and into the future.

Through the integration of our organisations, we’ll be able to maintain the reliable, efficient, affordable water services that are so important to customers and community in the region.

Households in the fast-growing outer west of Melbourne will be better off following the integration of Western Water and City West Water, which will maintain bill stability — at a time when many household incomes are under pressure due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Victorian economy — and will see average bills reduced for our customers in the future.

This integration is a positive step forward for the region in servicing the needs of one of the state’s fastest growing areas.

We’ll continue to work with the Victorian Government to ensure we best meet the needs of customers across the region now and into the future.

Will fees for permits rise?

We are committed to providing the best customer experiences and affordable services to our customers.

We’re working on a detailed plan to integrate the corporations, and will keep our people, customers and the community informed and engaged throughout the process, including any changes to fees.

What about the community sponsorships and partnerships in place with each organisation?

Sponsorships and community partnership programs will continue as they do now. Community is at the heart of both corporations’ strategies and building on connections to community will be essential to success of the new water corporation.

We’re working on a detailed plan to integrate the corporations, and will keep our people, customers and the community informed and engaged throughout the process.

What will happen to the current City West Water and Western Water offices?

The new organisation will continue to manage sites across the existing City West Water (CWW) and Western Water (WW) regions. We’ll keep a strong regional presence through the retention of the Footscray and Sunbury offices and all depots and offices of CWW and WW - in line with current coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.

And there will be strong representation from both entities at both offices, once we begin to transition back to working in offices in a COVID safe way.

What will happen to existing water services and works in progress?

All services and works will continue as they do now. We are committed to providing the best customer experiences and affordable services to our customers.

What is going to happen next?

We’re working through a detailed plan to integrate the organisations and will keep our people informed and engaged throughout the process.

This includes a thorough review of work programs, systems and processes as well as organisational structures between CWW and WW which will be undertaken to ensure a smooth transition to an integrated entity.

This includes supporting our people to ensure this transition is smooth and that employees know where we’re at with the integration and know about the opportunities available through us creating this new, larger water corporation.

There will be ongoing consultation with all employees and the relevant unions as this work progresses as required under the WW and CWW enterprise agreements.

The work of bringing our two organisations together as Greater Western Water will be overseen by a Joint Transition Committee with support from DELWP.

The JTC will have members from both City West Water and Western Water Boards and will have an independent Chair.

A project team has been formed with representatives from both CWW and WW to manage the integration process.

Who is the integration between?

Western Region Water Corporation and City West Water Corporation are two government owned water utilities that operate in Melbourne’s west. The two corporations will be integrated to support efficient, affordable and sustainable services, securing the economic future of the region as well as the quality of service to customers.

Why is the integration happening?

Melbourne’s west is one of Australia’s fastest growing regions with sustained annual population growth rates of 3-4% per year, and over the next 30 years the region’s population is expected to double. This population and economic growth pose significant challenges for the provision of affordable and secure water supplies and wastewater services for customers.

CWW and WW have worked closely together for many years to provide infrastructure and water resource solutions for their shared growing region. The integration will see greater opportunities for integrated water management and least cost infrastructure planning for Melbourne’s outer west.

The integration of WW and CWW secures affordable and equitable access to water services for customers. This is particularly vital for vulnerable customers where the financial strain of COVID19 would only be exacerbated by potential water bill increases. 

Water corporations must maintain their financial viability to:

  • secure the delivery of infrastructure for growth in the metropolitan area and in regions,
  • provide financial support to customers via hardship programs, and
  • maintain investment programs.

What research and investigation has resulted in this outcome?

WW has been working with CWW for some time to investigate ways we can share assets, resources and opportunities that reduce costs to our businesses and ultimately to our customers.

WW and CWW have been leading discussions with the Victorian Government to raise awareness of the impact that scale and speed of urban growth have on water supply security, and the provision of affordable water and wastewater services.

Last year, the Victorian Government undertook a strategic review. The Strategic Futures Project investigated ways we can coordinate to continue to deliver high quality, affordable services to our customers.

It included independent analysis (by PwC) and I thank the many employees who participated in the project by providing important information.

The project found that significant government investment and/or water bill increases would be required over the next decade and beyond to support WW to continue in its current form.

The project’s recommendations, which were endorsed by the joint governance group and agreed by the Minister for Water, were that WW and CWW integrate to form a combined water entity for the outer metro west region. The Chairs of both Boards support this recommendation.

We’ll continue to work with the Victorian Government to ensure we best meet the needs of customers across the region now and into the future.

What is involved in the next phase?

A thorough review of work programs, systems and processes between CWW and WW will be undertaken to ensure a smooth transition to an integrated entity.

The work of bringing our two organisations together as Greater Western Water will be overseen by a Joint Transition Committee with support from DELWP. The JTC will have members from both City West Water and Western Water Boards and will have an independent Chair.

A project team has been formed with representatives from both CWW and WW to manage the integration process.

When will the integration take place?

The integration will formally take place on 1 July 2021.

Prior to 1 July 2021 the two corporations will be working together to progressively align their systems and processes. This will ensure a seamless customer experience with services to business and households continuing as normal.

Who is Western Water?

Established under the Water Act 1989, Western Region Water Corporation (trading as Western Water) is one of Victoria’s 13 regional urban water corporations. Western Water provides water, recycled water and sewerage services in Bacchus Marsh, Melton, Sunbury, the Macedon Ranges and surrounds. In 2018/19, Western Water provided water, sewerage and recycled water services to 72,825 serviced properties across a region of 3,000 square kilometres to the north-west of Melbourne.

What does this mean for employees?

The new entity will retain all staff from WW and CWW. Staff will have the opportunity to take up a role within the new organisation on terms and conditions no less favourable than their current terms and conditions.

As we combine the two organisations, we will naturally transition from two leadership teams to one leadership team – one Board and one Management team - guiding the new entity.

And there will be strong representation from both entities at both offices, once we begin to transition back to working in offices in a COVID safe way.

With another 100,000 customers forecast over the next ten years, we anticipate overall job numbers will grow and have an ambition to be recognised as an employer of choice.

Where will the new entity be?

The new organisation will continue to manage sites across the existing City West Water (CWW) and Western Water (WW) regions. We’ll keep a strong regional presence through the retention of the Footscray and Sunbury offices and all depots and offices of CWW and WW - in line with current coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.

Further, the newly integrated entity will focus on employees living locally, which is expected to support an increase for opportunities for staff to work across the Sunbury and Footscray offices and depots, depending on where they live and their circumstances.

The Victorian Government will commit $500,000 of funding to commence planning upgrades to the Sunbury office, focused on creating a COVID safe Greater Western Water Hub to support the growing region.

And there will be strong representation from both entities at both offices, once we begin to transition back to working in offices in a COVID safe way.

Who will oversee the integration?

The transition of City West Water and Western Water into a new entity – Greater Western Water – will be overseen by leading water sector expert Cheryl Bagatol, alongside a committee of representatives from both boards. In addition to Ms Batagol, Western Water will be represented by current board members Jane Doolan, Liza McDonald and Les McLean with CWW Board members Bruce Cohen, Tania Fryer and Sawsan Howard completing the membership. The Joint Transition Committee (JTC) will work with the community within the service areas of CWW and WW to help shape the new entity to deliver long-term, sustainable outcomes for the Victorian community.

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