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Sydney Water Annual Report 2009
Statutory information: Other statutory information
 
 
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In this section:

 

 
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Compliance with the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection (PPIP) Act 1998

Sydney Water operates in line with the requirements of the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection (PPIP) Act 1998. It ensures that:

  • the businesses and staff of Sydney Water understand and comply with the requirements of the PPIP Act and the related Information Protection Principles (IPPs)
  • business processes and procedures are established to deal quickly and efficiently with matters of a personal information nature
  • personal information collected is relevant, not excessive, accurate, complete and up-to-date
  • personal information is protected from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification and unnecessary disclosure
  • personal information is retained no longer than is necessary for legitimate purposes
  • all personal information is destroyed or permanently de-identified, when no longer used or required
  • the Sydney Water Privacy Policy and Privacy Management Plan are annually reviewed.

The position of Privacy Coordinator is maintained to service the needs of Sydney Water and its customers in regard to privacy issues and requests. The actions taken in 2008–09 include:

  • receiving email and postal enquiries on privacy from the public and from Sydney Water staff
  • advising Sydney Water staff on compliance with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection (PIPP) and Health Records Information Protection (HRIP) Acts
  • retaining Salinger Privacy for specialised privacy law advice
  • monitoring Privacy requests and issues.

During 2008–09, Sydney Water received one external request for information, which has been closed. Internally, 19 requests for support, advice or review were received and all have been completed.

Ethnic affairs priority statement 2008–09

Sydney Water recognises that many of our customers are from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. This priority statement presents a record of initiatives and achievements in 2008–09 and a forward statement of strategies for 2009–10.

Strategy

Key initiatives

Performance indicator

Timeframe

Develop and implement strategies specifically targeting CALD customers based on demographic information, needs analysis and market research.

In 2008–09, Sydney Water project managed a Water for Life education campaign tailored to the five largest language groups in Sydney – Chinese, Arabic, Italian, Greek and Vietnamese.

The campaign began in June 2009 and will extend into
2009–10. It includes media relations, community education and one-on-one coaching.

The media mix was tailored for each group based on research evidence about which channels each community obtains information from. 

About $120,000 has been allocated to TV, press, radio and online advertising across the five language groups.

About $75,000 was spent on advertising Water Wise Rules to CALD communities.

2008–09

The campaign will be thoroughly evaluated.

Results of the campaign will be available at the end of 2009.

2009

An individualised marketing pilot began in June 2009.

The pilot offers customers the chance to receive personalised, one-on-one advice about how they can be more water wise in their home and garden. It also gives customers information about the NSW Government’s Metropolitan Water Plan.

500 Arabic-speaking customers were given the opportunity to take part.

About $80,000 has been allocated to the CALD component of the pilot.

Reductions in water use will be measured against a control group over six months. Final results will be available in December 2009.

2009

Sydney Water has continued to work with the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW to deliver its Sustainable Living Project. Project participants attend workshops and are given translated information about Sydney Water’s rebates and offers as well as ways to be more water wise at home.

About 25 workshops were held across eight language groups.

2008–09

Provide equitable and accessible services.

Sydney Water runs a Corporate Customer Council, which includes a representative from the Ethnic Communities Council.

 

Ongoing

Sydney Water provides a free phone interpreter service for customers from a non-English speaking background.

This service is used an average of 150 times a month.

Ongoing

The Community Language Allowance Scheme is provided by staff who speak a language other than English. The service is provided by phone, email and face-to-face contact with internal and external customers.

30 staff provide the services covering 18 languages.

Ongoing

The Social Policy team promotes and delivers special assistance strategies. These programs provide low-income customers with financial and water saving assistance and ongoing access to services.

Information about financial assistance, reducing water use and saving money is available in 13 community languages.

Ongoing

Information is also available to CALD communities through about 60 community agencies.

Ongoing

Three new community agencies with specialised access to CALD groups were included in the Payment Assistance Scheme.

2008–09

A grant of $25,000 was provided to Macarthur Diversity Services for its No Interest Loan Scheme. This enables disadvantaged customers to buy water efficient washing machines.

2008–09

A major review was carried out to evaluate the potential barriers CALD groups have in accessing customer service.

2008–09

Key strategies for 2009–10 include:

Communication:

  • Attending two community festivals together with the NSW Office of Water. Both festivals will provide the opportunity to talk about the water equation and water efficiency face to face with multicultural communities.
  • An exclusive media tour of Rouse Hill Recycled Water Plant for ethnic media.

Equitable and accessible services:

  • Continuing to support workshops delivered through the migrant resource centre. These help to inform CALD communities about the customer assistance available to them.
  • Adopting diversity indicators as part of ongoing reporting about customer hardship.

Taking part in a community education workshop for indigenous customers in conjunction with Energy Australia. The workshop will give information about financial assistance and ways to be water wise.

Overseas travel

Sydney Water related

Staff

Destination

Period

Description

Sally Armstrong

Auckland, NZ

18–20 August 2008

Attend the Climate Change and Business Conference

Fernando Gamboa

London, UK

14–18 September 2008

Attend the Wallingford Software North American User Conference

Gino Belsito

Auckland, NZ

21–24 October 2008

Attend the Water Services of Australia Conference

Sreema Guruge

Wellington, NZ

10–14 November 2008

Attend the 5th Asian Pacific Physiological Forum

Mark Angles

Paris, France

28 November to 7 December 2008

Take part in Global Water Research Coalition Workshop: Introduction to molecular methods in the Water Industry

Dr Judi Hansen

Tucson, USA

17–24 January 2009

Attend the Water Research Foundation: Board of Trustees Meeting

Rob Pearsall

Austin, USA

22–28 February 2009

Attend the Ventyx Conference, Austin, Texas

Michael Storey

The Hague, Netherlands

13–24 February 2009

Travel to the IWA Bonn Network meeting to provide expert advice to the Bonn Network in the area of drinking water quality and risk management

Leslie Barnard

Frankfurt, Germany

6–18 March 2009

Attend the World Plumbing Council Technical Symposium

Nicola Nelson

Washington, USA

24 March to 8 April 2009

Meeting with Water Environment Research Foundation: Collaborative Research Project

Gregory Kane

Washington, USA

4–11 April 2009

Attend the Steering Committee on International Research Programme on Asset Management

Denise Dawson

Boston, USA and London, UK

3–17 April 2009

Executive Development course in Boston and visit to Thames Water, London

Sally Armstrong

Singapore

17–20 June 2009

Attend Singapore Public Utilities Board Relationship: Information sharing – Second joint workshop

Paul Freeman

Singapore

17–26 June 2009

Attend Singapore Public Utilities Board Relationship: Information sharing – Second joint workshop

Gregory Cawston

Singapore

17–19 June 2009

Attend Singapore Public Utilities Board Relationship: Information sharing – Second joint workshop

Australian Water Technologies (AWT) related

Staff

Destination

Period

Description

Alan Ramsey

Bangkok, Thailand

20–24 June 2009

Arrange the sale of AWT International (AWTI)

Trevor Matthews

Bangkok, Thailand

13–22 August 2008

Carry out corporate governance function for AWTI and attend meetings including a meeting of the Board of Directors to endorse the financial statements

Trevor Matthews

Bangkok, Thailand

20–27 June 2009

Carry out corporate governance function for AWTI and other company activities

Consulting for Sydney Water

Total expenditure on consultants during 2008–09 by Sydney Water was $1,197,626.19.  This does not include sitting fees paid to members of the Customer Council.

Payments over $30,000 to consultants from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009

During the year, there were 10 engagements at a total cost of $768,156.22.

Vendor name

Contract number

Contract description

Amount

Hunter Water Australia Pty Limited

24630

Independent review of the desalination water delivery alliance

$221,018.18

KPMG Consulting

24092

Financial advice for Kurnell desalination plant

$162,142.84

DHI Water and Environment Pty Ltd

25216

Review of two outlet riser option for desalination plant

$69,228.38

Marchment Hill Consulting

25045

Advice on remote reading of water meters

$61,900

Agenviro Solutions Pty Ltd

25393

Review of irrigation best practice guidelines

$54,590

Gregory Downes

5000255462

Advice on chemical supply market

$46,907.28

Oakton Services Pty Ltd

5000253788

Operational review of the Information Management group

$43,613.54

Tripoint Corporation Pty Ltd

5000241456

Peoplesoft review of the Financial Management Information Service

$39,300

Department of Water and Energy

5000249787

Feasibility study for Kurnell water recycling scheme

$36,756

Archaeological and Heritage Management

25079

Heritage consulting for Parramatta water main renewal

 $32,700

   

Total

$768,156.22

Consultant engagement of $30,000 or less

During the year, there were 57 engagements at a total cost of $429,469.97.

Payments under $30,000 for consultants from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009

Vendor

Amount

PricewaterhouseCoopers

$28,304

Access UTS Pty Ltd

$22,590

Northlands Business Consultants Pty Ltd

$20,328.76

Everything Infrastructure Services Pty Ltd

$19,961.09

Irrigation Australia Ltd

$19,085

Pur Risk Management Pty Ltd

$18,900

Executive Central Group Pty Ltd

$18,000

Alchimie Pty Ltd

$17,763.73

Risk Advisory Services Pty Ltd

$17,538.08

Marchment Hill Consulting

$16,800

Catalyst Communications

$14,600

University of Western Sydney

$14,527

Tracey Brunstrom and Hammond Group

$12,231.25

Sparke Helmore Lawyers

$12,000

Therin Archaeological Consulting Pty Ltd

$10,600

Cardno Ecology Lab Pty Ltd

$9,560

Urban Water Solutions

$9,200

GHD Pty Ltd

$9,140

Dr Peggy Eby

$9,000

UXC Getronics (Australia) Pty Ltd

$8,937.50

Covaris Pty Ltd

$7,000

Ichthyological Investigations

$6,650

Yarra Valley Water Ltd

$6,130

Australian Centre for Value Management Pty Ltd

$6,000

Customer Service Australia Pty Ltd

$6,000

Maxwell Coulthart and Associates

$6,000

Envirodyne Group Pty Ltd

$5,800

BEM Property Consultants Pty Ltd

$5,550

Enercon Engineering Pty Ltd

$5,125

Pathfinder Solutions Pty Ltd

$5,000

The Sunnyfield Association

$4,934

Brehaut

$4,800

Reason 4 Consulting

$4,400

DBM Independent Consultants

$4,235

Benbow Environmental

$4,140

Essential Media Communications

$4,000

Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd

$2,980

Dream Weaver Communications

$2,880

Access Macquarie Ltd

$2,534.98

Sparke Helmore Lawyers

$2,478.60

Bartier Perry Pty Ltd

$2,384.04

Ergoworks Physiotherapy and Consulting P/L

$2,175

Energy and Water Ombudsman (NSW)

$2,136.36

Peter Berry Consultancy Pty Ltd

$2,000

Be Challenged

$1,800

Geochemical Assessments Pty Ltd

$1,800

Bureau of Meteorology

$1,627.50

Sustainable Turf Renovations and Equipment

$1,575

RSA Acoustics

$1,500

Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council

$1,257.40

Muston and Associates

$1,163.64

Cubbitch Barta Native Title Claimants Aboriginal Corporation

$1,076.50

Beverly Bultitude

$954.54

Tresscox Lawyers

$764

Clayton UTZ Lawyers

$702

Angelica Bilibio

$600

Jones Lang LaSalle (NSW) Pty Ltd

$250

Total

$429,469.97

Sitting fees paid to members of the Customer Council

Brigid Dowsett

$312

Cr Julie Hegarty

$312

John J McInerney

$312

Ross Tzannes

$312

Cardno Operations Pty Ltd

$208

Public Interest Advocacy Centre

$208

Cardno (NSW) Pty Ltd

$104

Colin Foye

$104

NSW Business Chamber Ltd

$104

The Council of Social Services of NSW

$104

Total

$2,080

Staff and industrial relations

This year, Sydney Water mainly focused on preparing for negotiations with the unions on a new staff Industrial Agreement. In particular, Sydney Water worked on creating a proposal that set out the terms and conditions of employment in a clear, concise and easy to read format.

We are also proposing staff have an agreement that supports career development and makes it easier to reward good performance. Consultation with staff and unions is on-going in relation to major organisation changes, relocations and work re-design.

Equal Employment Opportunity

During 2008–09, Sydney Water continued to carry out the strategies developed in the Equity and Diversity Strategy 2008–2010.

Appropriate workplace behaviour training

  • Continued to conduct appropriate workplace behaviour training as part of corporate induction for all new staff joining Sydney Water.

Work/life balance

  • Received Work Life Balance Award at the Diversity@Work Awards 2008.
  • Gained Silver Flexible Employer Accreditation from Managing Work/Life Balance International.
  • Promoted Movember to increase health awareness amongst men as part of an introduction to a possible Men@Work Program.
  • Investigated phased retirement options and included these in the Flexible Work Arrangement Policy.
  • Added a section on transferring knowledge from retiring staff members to other staff members to ensure business continuity.
  • Held a forum on ‘What’s good for you?’ to promote staff health and wellbeing.
  • Presented at the following conferences:
    • Gearing up for NES – Right to Request for Flexibility organised by NSW Equal Opportunity Practitioners Association (NEEOPA)
    • Ageing Workforce – Creating a pathway to 2012 organised by the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA). The topic was ‘Make a splash! – The Business Benefits of Work/Life Balance and Flexibility at Sydney Water’
    • Workplace Diversity – Building the case, sustaining the future organised by Ark Group on ‘Sydney Water: the journey to innovative practices in diversity’
    • The National Employer of Choice Conference 2009 organised by Workplace Training Advisory Australia on ‘Innovations in Employee Wellbeing: Best Practice (Public Sector)’
    • The Australian Family Friendly Workplace organised by Workplace Training Advisory Australia on ‘Beyond the Theme – Innovations in employee wellbeing’.

Women EEO group

  • Received Women in Leadership Award at the Diversity@Work Awards 2008.
  • Held Pink Ribbon day event in head office.
  • Celebrated International Women’s Day and presented Women@Work’s yearly Women’s Achievement Award.
  • Sponsored UNIFEM International Women’s Day Sydney Breakfast.
  • Gave training on career resiliency for women.
  • Encouraged female staff to take part in the e-Mentoring Program run by the Public Sector Workforce Office of the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Three Sydney Water women were selected to take part.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island EEO group

  • Celebrated National Aboriginal Indigenous Day Observation Committee (NAIDOC) Week at head office. The theme was ‘Advance Australia Fair?’.
  • Introduced Aboriginal Art Competition for kids of Sydney Water staff. The aim was to raise Indigenous cultural awareness.
  • The ATSI Cadet Program had three cadets during 2008–09. There were no new cadets recruited to the program.
  • Supported the Indigenous Australian Engineering Summer School hosted by the University of Newcastle in January 2009.

First language other than English EEO group

  • Celebrated Harmony Day (a Commonwealth Government initiative), giving an opportunity for staff to share their culture and say ‘no’ to racism.
  • Continued to use the Community Language Allowance Scheme (CLAS) to support and recognise staff that use their expertise in a community language to improve customer service. There are 29 staff providing services in18 different languages.

Disability EEO group

  • Celebrated the International Day of People with DisAbility events at head office, Guildford and Yagoona. The events in head office and Guildford featured Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and the one at Yagoona, the Deaf Society of NSW.

Key equal employment opportunity strategies for 2009–10

  • Continue to work with Aboriginal communities and job networks to increase the number of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders applying for jobs at Sydney Water. Sydney Water will also work with Melbourne East Group Training to increase the number of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders taking up traineeships and apprenticeships.
  • Continue to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Summer School over the summer of 2009–10.
  • Support the Don’t DIS my ABILITY campaign organised by the Department of Ageing, DisAbility and Home Care to celebrate the 2009 International Day of People with a DisAbility.
  • Continue to develop plans for a disability work experience program to increase employment opportunities for people living with a disability.
  • Investigate the development of a new strategy for equity and diversity and general staff wellbeing.

Continue to promote the Women@Work Program that gives opportunities for three team leaders and volunteers to highlight and address issues for women in the workplace. Three key focus areas were identified for the 2008–10 Women@Work Program – career development, work/life balance, and networking and communication.

Executive officers commentary

Number of Senior Executive Service (SES) equivalent officers

 

2004–05

2005–06

2006–07

2007–08

2008–09

Female

13

15

12

22

24

Male

66

100

108

107

112

Total

79

115

120

129

136

Executive performance and remuneration

Name

Kerry Schott

Position and level

Managing Director

Total remuneration package

$476,280

Time in position

Kerry was in this position for the full financial year.

Results

Kerry performed against agreed criteria.

 

Name

Denise Dawson

Position and level

General Manager, Corporate Services

Total remuneration package

$343,842

Time in position

Denise was in the position for the full financial year.

Results

Denise performed against agreed criteria of cost management, risk management integration, insurance review, the IT program of work and the transition to the new head office at Parramatta.

 

Name

Eric De Rooy

Position and level

General Manager, Maintenance

Total remuneration package

$277,869

Time in position

Eric was appointed to the position on 15 October 2008.

Results

Eric performed against agreed criteria of fault response, stakeholder management, asset availability and reliability, business reform and improvement, procurement, management capability and safety risk reduction.

 

Name

Paul Freeman

Position and level

General Manager, Asset Management

Total remuneration package

$315,390

Time in position

Paul was in this position for the full financial year.

Results

Paul performed against agreed criteria of asset management capability, information and improvement, innovation, infrastructure development, leak reductions and reputation management.

 

Name

Judi Hansen

Position and level

General Manager, Sustainability

Total remuneration package

$309,382

Time in position

Judi was in this position for the full financial year.

Results

Judi performed against agreed criteria in the areas of science and technology strategy, the Metropolitan Water Plan review, climate change reporting, carbon trading, environmental performance and the delivery of recycled water projects.

 

Name

Michael Keelan

Position and level

General Manager, Water Services

Total remuneration package

$309,255

Time in position

Michael left the organisation on 31 December 2008.

Results

Michael performed against agreed criteria of cost-effective and timely civil, mechanical and electrical maintenance services.

 

Name

Peter Mills

Position and level

General Manager, Human Resources

Total remuneration package

$257,122

Time in position

Peter was in this position for the full financial year.

Results

Peter performed against agreed criteria of business reforms, industrial relations, organisational capability, staff engagement and attraction and retention of talented staff.

 

Name

Colin Nicholson

Position and level

General Manager, Operations

Total remuneration package

$277,869

Time in position

Colin was appointed to the position on 15 October 2008

Results

Colin performed against agreed criteria of financial management and business efficiency, compliance, renewable energy, business reforms, recycled water, drinking water and wastewater compliance and regulation.

 

Name

Ron Quill

Position and level

General Manager, Asset Solutions

Total remuneration package

$332,640

Time in position

Ron was in this position for the full financial year.

Results

Ron performed against agreed criteria of project delivery and efficiencies, contractor safety, business reform, compliance and customer satisfaction.

 

Name

Alan Ramsey

Position and level

General Manager, Finance and Regulatory

Total remuneration package

$321,000

Time in position

Alan was in this position for the full financial year.

Results

Alan performed against agreed criteria of budget formulation and management, financial reporting, regulatory relationships, strategic financial planning and improvements to corporate planning and management.

 

Name

Angela Tsoukatos

Position and level

General Manager, Customer and Community Relations

Total remuneration package

$297,654

Time in position

Angela was in this position for the full financial year.

Results

Angela performed against agreed criteria of communications and marketing, business reform, demand management, customer service strategy, and the customer management system.

Guarantee of service

Customer Contract

Sydney Water has a Customer Contract which details:

  • rights for customers experiencing hardship (Section 5.1)
  • delivery of certain forms of customer assistance (5.2)
  • restriction, disconnection and restoration procedures (6.1–6.7).

In 2008–09, there were no changes to the sections of the Customer Contract about access to the water supply.

Ongoing programs

Sydney Water’s major ongoing customer assistance programs include:

  • Pensioner Rebate Scheme – about 116,000 pensioners with a Pensioner Concession Card or nominated Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card receive concessions on their water bills.
  • Payment Assistance Scheme (PAS) – customers in financial hardship and experiencing imminent threat of restriction to the water supply can apply for $25 vouchers from welfare agencies after an assessment of need. These vouchers may be used to pay residential water bills.
  • No Interest Loan Schemes (NILS) – Sydney Water contributes funding to about 17 community-based loan funds. Low-income households may access interest-free finance through these funds to pay for water efficient washing machines. The loans are repayable to these community agencies with a typical default rate of less than one per cent.
  • Instalment plans – Sydney Water offers customers struggling to pay bills the option of entering into a tailored payment plan.

These four programs are the most frequently used of the financial assistance options available to customers. There has been an increase in the take-up of these programs by customers. This is most likely to be because of the economic downturn. Both the NILS and the PAS draw heavily on the resources of community-based agencies for assessment of need and supervision of financial assistance.

Sydney Water also gives additional help for low-income customers. This includes home plumbing help and Centrepay, which enables automatic payment to Sydney Water.

Major initiatives 2008–09

Major customer assistance initiatives in 2008–09 included:

  • Sponsoring the outreach of financial counsellors to distressed clients. The counsellors support Sydney Water customers and help reduce  Sydney Water’s debt recovery costs.
  • Supporting research undertaken by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre on the experience of utility service restriction and disconnection for impacted households in NSW.
  • Working with the Council on the Ageing on a program to inform older peoples’ groups through community educators about customer assistance.
  • Engaging with Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse customers. Sydney Water supported and funded NILS targeting the needs of these customer groups in buying water efficient washing machines.
  • Revising customer assistance policies. The review included the introduction of a transparent and robust process for allocating funds to NILS agencies and developing a sustainable model to support the delivery of financial assistance for sewer connection for low-income households.  
  • Reviewing opportunities for overcoming customer service barriers impacting people with low income and a disability.

Fact sheets in plain English and a range of languages about financial assistance and water saving can be found at:  http://www.sydneywater.com.au/CustomerServices/CommunityAssistance/.

To know more, please contact the Customer Assistance Program Leader.
Phone: 8849 6492
Fax: 8849 5196

Customer complaint handling and redress

Complaints

Sydney Water has a Customer Complaints Policy, which is supported by detailed procedures.

Complaint and rebate data are used for both internal and external stakeholders. Trends and statistics on key categories of complaints and rebates are reported every six months to the Portfolio Minister. Figures are also made available for yearly audits.

Redress

Clauses 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4 of the Customer Contract [link] state that Sydney Water will give customers a rebate for:

  • a planned interruption of the water and/or wastewater services for over five hours
  • an unplanned interruption of the water and/or wastewater services for over one hour
  • a low water pressure incident which is below 15 metres of pressure at the point of connection to Sydney Water’s main
  • a sewage overflow onto the customer’s property
  • dirty water
  • boiled water alert.

Depending on the type of complaint, Sydney Water may give redress by one or more of the following means:

  • reinstatement
  • repair
  • rectification
  • construction of works
  • providing alternate supplies of water
  • emergency accommodation
  • payment for damages as set out in clause 7.5 of the Customer Contract
  • giving a rebate.