A new partnership for Barwon Water and Surf Coast Shire Council

13 September 2017

Renewable energy projects, paths that connect communities, shared services and more will be explored in a new partnership between Barwon Water and Surf Coast Shire Council.

A three-year partnership will be formalised on Wednesday 13 September, when a Partnership Agreement will be signed at Barwon Water’s Ryrie Street headquarters in Geelong. It will mark the start of a closer working relationship between Barwon Water and Council, with the ultimate goal of delivering regional prosperity to the community.

The proactive partnership will explore and progress areas of collaboration, working together on projects and services that are likely to result in improved outcomes for the region.

Areas that have been identified for collaboration include renewable energy, water services and urban planning. There are also opportunities to consider shared procurement, shared project management services to deliver large-scale infrastructure, and placements and secondments for employees.

Barwon Water Chair Jo Plummer believes the agreement by both organisations to work towards regional prosperity will provide many benefits for the region.    

“It is no accident this partnership agreement is one of our first, reflecting the strong existing relationship, shared strategic goals and extensive collaborative projects already underway between the two organisations.

“The agreement goes beyond business as usual efforts – it commits us to taking our collaborative efforts to a whole new level and holding us to account for achieving tangible and lasting benefits for the community.

"By working together, we can provide greater regional value through positive environmental outcomes, such as exploring opportunities to increase the provision of recycled water in the rural hinterland, and identify ways to deliver renewable energy,” Plummer said. 

Surf Coast Shire Council Mayor Brian McKiterick was pleased that the partnership aligned with each of the Council Plan themes – Community Wellbeing, Environmental Leadership, Balancing Growth, High Performing Council and Vibrant Economy.

“It fits in with the Environmental Leadership theme in particular, as we want to support the work of our Renewable Energy Taskforce,” Cr McKiterick said.

“The Taskforce – which now includes a Barwon Water representative – is helping Council to achieve its goal for the Surf Coast region to generate 25% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

“We know that Barwon Water is also committed to taking action on climate change through its target of 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025, and zero net emissions by 2030.

“It’s pleasing that we already share common goals which are going to benefit our growing community, such as investigating where we can use recycled water to support agribusiness in rural areas, including Thompson Valley.

“Another goal is exploring opportunities to enhance public use of land in the Surf Coast, for example creating community assets such as shared paths.”

Surf Coast Shire Council Chief Executive Officer Keith Baillie is looking forward to seeing the partnership progress.

“Barwon Water’s commitment to regional prosperity is to be applauded, and has been a key factor as to why we want to work more closely with them,” Mr Baillie said.

“We exist to help our community and environment to thrive. The partnership will help achieve this, so we’re incredibly excited about the opportunities ahead.”