Our people

Our people

Improving safety outcomes

The health and safety of our people is paramount.

Work Health and Safety Services partner with us to identify and manage workplace hazards, monitor and support health and wellbeing and to provide injury management services where a worker has been injured or become ill.

Throughout 2016-17, these programs helped improve safety outcomes and are outlined below.

Muscoskeletal program
Educating and building the capability of our people to identify at risk behaviours that may result in achieving a 43 per cent reduction in musculoskeletal injuries in customer field services.

Preventive hazard management
Engaging business units in practices leading to improved hazard, risk identification and analysis of training needs.

Driver safety
Managing vehicle selection, maintenance, safe loading and safe towing to reduce the likelihood of an incident resulting in an injury. We are also addressing driving and behavioural safety – such as managing driver fatigue risk, minimising driver distraction and management of road rule infringements.

Contractor management
Working together with contractors visiting or working at SA Water premises ensured shared safety outcomes was complemented with 40 contractor forums to share safe systems of work and improvement initiatives.

Working on water
Developed principles for working on, over or near a water body including the management of commercial vessels and employee competency to operate.

Fatigue management
Implemented strategies to manage the risk of fatigue.

Early intervention and return to work
Supporting employees from the occurrence of an incident to recovery and a successful return to work.

In 2016-17:

  • 98 per cent of injuries reported within 24 hours
  • 100 per cent of work injured employees returned to work within three months
  • 100 per cent of work injured employees believe their recovery is supported.

Self-care for a healthy mind
Developing the knowledge and capability of our people to maintain and enhance their mental well-being with more than half of our people across the business participating in information sessions.

Growing capability

Graduate program
We have continued to support workforce planning through our graduate program. The program places graduates across a variety of disciplines including engineering, science, environment, finance, and information technology.

Three graduates were successful in transitioning from the program into roles within SA Water in 2016-17. We currently have 17 graduates undertaking roles within communications and engagement, engineering, finance, and environment.

Trainees and apprentices
In 2016-17, four water industry trainees started the program, working in our Network Operations area. During this period three water industry trainees completed and moved into ongoing roles. These traineeships will support workforce planning in Operations and Maintenance in the next five years. We employ apprentices in three vocations:

  • electrical (Certificate III in ElectroTechnology)
  • fitting and turning (Certificate III in Engineering Trades – Mechanical)
  • welder/boilermaker (Certificate III in Engineering Trades – Fabrication).

We employed 14 electrical apprentices, nine fitting and turning apprentices and nine welder/boilermaker apprentices in 2016-17. We employed nine new apprentices during this period. Four successfully won ongoing roles in the business.

Our technical cadetships support the replenishment of para-professionals in our workforce, particularly in regional operations. Cadets were employed in engineering during 2015-16.

We recruited one Technical Engineering Cadet at Crystal Brook during 2016-17, bringing the total number of technical cadets to three.


All employees are required to complete a Personal Achievement and Development Plan (PADP) each year as part of our Employee Performance Cycle with 100 per cent completion across the business.

Working towards reconciliation

Our Reconciliation Action Plan 2017-20 is an agreed strategy and public commitment of how we will contribute towards reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and other Australians.

During 2016-17, we launched our third formal plan, with a strong focus on stretching our commitment. The stretch targets in the plan provide the opportunity to deepen our impact towards reconciliation through the setting of clear and measurable targets.

At the heart of our approach is the principle of working together for mutually agreed outcomes.

Our plan focuses on three key areas:

people – seeking to grow our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce and ensure employees thrive
partners – supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and using our influence to drive mutually benefiting outcomes
water – supporting communities in new ways with safe, clean water and education.

Initiatives undertaken in 2016-17 include:

  • launch and celebrations with local communities on the Reconciliation Action Plan 2017-20
  • appointment of an external cochair and Aboriginal Leader, David Rathman, to the Reconciliation Action Plan Committee
  • the establishment of an Aboriginal Affairs team within the organisation
  • the installation of a Kaurna shield and plaque at SA Water’s CBD office to honour and recognise the Kaurna people, and highlight our commitment to working in a meaningful, collaborative and respectful way with the Aboriginal communities we serve and the lands we operate on
  • continuing cultural awareness training for our staff
  • continued support to Indigenous businesses through the procurement of services
  • engaging with Aboriginal communities on projects that will protect Aboriginal heritage and culture
  • continuing support of National Reconciliation and National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee weeks
  • continuing employment, scholarships and work experience opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In 2016-17, we employed 28 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff which included seven new employees.

Executive employment

Executive classificationNumber of employees
EX A (SW10)27
EX B (SW11)1
EX C (SW12)5
EX D (SW13)2
EX E (SW14)1

**SA Water Executives are classified in the SA Water Single Classification Structure (denoted SW  in brackets beside previous class).

For further information, the Office for the Public Sector has a data dashboard for further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.

Leading the way with pay equality

The gender pay gap measures the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings and is expressed as a percentage of men’s earning.

Australia's gender pay gap for 2016 has been calculated at 15.3%. At SA Water, our pay gap for the same period was 0%. 

Australia’s gender pay gap for 2016 has been calculated at 15.3 per cent, a gap of around $250 a week, or two additional months of work. Across the South Australian Public Sector, the gap between men and women’s salaries at June 2016 was $13 473 per annum in favour of men: a gap of 15 per cent.

At SA Water, our pay gap for the same period was zero per cent, down from two per cent in 2015 and one per cent in 2014.

Our achievement reflects the collective effort across the business to embrace diversity as well as our genuine belief that men and women benefit from an inclusive workplace, as do our customers.

Inclusion and diversity action plan

Our Inclusion and Diversity Action Plan, aligned with the South Australian Government, Disability Access and Inclusion Plans outlines that everyone is entitled to their rights and freedom without distinction of any kind and irrespective of any past, present or future disability.

Our actions are guided by six key outcomes:

  1. inclusive and accessible communities
  2. economic security and employment
  3. rights, protection, justice and legislation
  4. personal and community support
  5. learning and skills
  6. health and wellbeing.

We prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions.

In addition, we actively support our people with disabilities with regard to access and physical environment as well as have a comprehensive health and wellbeing program focussed on healthy living and supporting inclusion.

Through our graduate program we actively encourage women to apply and work in non-traditional roles as well as increasing the participation of people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds into the workforce.

To address attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder full and effective participation, we are actively raising awareness and fostering respect for the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. We do this to combat stereotypes prejudices and harmful practices relating to persons with disabilities. We also challenge unconscious bias, and promote awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities.