Barwon Water: Doing the GROW thing

Barwon Water - Doing the GROW Thing

About Barwon Water

Barwon Water (Barwon Region Water Corporation) is Victoria’s largest regional urban water corporation providing high quality water, recycled water and sewerage services.

Sourcing locally

One of the first steps toward implementing the GROW initiative for Barwon Water was to start integrating more local and social requirements in its Procurement Strategy. This included reviewing, procurement documentation, monitoring and reporting, extending social procurement activities, traineeship opportunities, and improving relationships with other organisations.

Barwon Water is now speaking with several suppliers about  supply chains and taking a more active role in sourcing more locally and socially.  This is already being included in new contract documentation and discussion has started around  developing targets and measures to be managed through the life of a contract.

Redevelopment of Barwon Water’s Ryrie Street headquarters also has created more than 100 jobs, 90 of them local. All major trades are represented, from concreters and electricians to steel workers and air conditioning specialists.

Supporting socially

Barwon Water has recently taken on a trainee, who came through Northern Futures, and is pleased with the result..  The trainee is working toward a successful traineeship and transition into full-time employment, which would be a fantastic outcome.

Many Barwon Water positions are for graduates so the corporation is working with GROW partner Deakin University to build pathways for graduates who might come from GROW target communities.

Barwon Water also engages directly with Social Enterprises for example, recently designing an approach with Karingal to clean fleet vehicles on site, “saving time and effort, another win:win,” says Paul Rawson, Manager Corporate Support Services.

Positive outcomes

  • New Procurement policy, with documentation requiring Social Procurement to be considered as part of procurement processes at Barwon Water and tender documentation stating social outcomes
  • Working on tender evaluation documentation, ensuring these contracts are delivering benefits for Geelong both locally and socially
  • New employees bringing social and cultural diversity into the workforce.

Future focus

“It has been an exciting and interesting time being part of implementing the GROW initiative. Collective actions are critical. You can embed the words in your documentation but I think you need to embed them in your people. Making it real – working on strategies that will help the GROW principles cement into the culture of the organisation.” (Paul Rawson)