Streamlined workforce consolidates at fit-for-purpose office

Tuesday 8 September, 2020

When I started at Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) in early 2019, I set transformation of the business as my priority. The first step towards achieving this goal was to declare all executive leadership positions vacant and adopt a new structure.

Since then, the GMW team has been streamlined; through natural attrition and an Early Retirement Scheme, our staff numbers have downsized from 718 to 552 employees. While the team is now agile, we have enhanced the skillset of our executive leadership team to drive change across the business and to meet the needs of our customers and the region.

In the same way you might make decisions for your farm business and decide to invest in long-term assets, we factored into our transformation planning a refurbishment of 40 Casey Street, Tatura – the building we see as the long-term home for our office based workforce.

When we began identifying staffing efficiencies, we also took the opportunity to consolidate the Tatura-based workforce at fewer sites. Until recently, this team was spread across five sites while about a third of our office space at 40 Casey Street sat empty. At the time COVID-19 restrictions came into effect, there were 90 empty desks.

The building at 40 Casey Street was built in 1994 and is 3,500 square metres – that’s about the same size as 15 average houses. Old, reused carpet was glued down many times, becoming unsafe in areas. The 14-year-old carpet had exceeded its recommended 10-year-life and the building had never been fully painted internally in its 26yr life.

Consolidating the majority of our Tatura workforce will cut floor space by about 750 square metres, reducing overheads and cutting on-going maintenance. This also provides the potential opportunity to sell, rent or repurpose empty buildings (just like we recently sold 48 Casey Street Tatura).

The refurbishment works, now complete, present a fit-for-purpose office to reflect the new staffing structure. Adhering to COVID-19 restrictions, a skeleton staff of planners will return to the office this week, and be the first to embrace the remodelled floor plan. The new plan was designed to enable effective collaboration across the business with more meeting rooms and better storage.

We are fostering a more inclusive and collaborative business, while also delivering on one of our strategic objectives for a safe, skilled and engaged workforce. Looking after our people will ensure we can continue operating as a high performing organisation into the future.

We have engaged local contractors at a time when regional jobs are vital. There have been nine locally based businesses undertaking the work. For more information on the budget for these works please click here.  

We are serious about reducing cost where we can and passing savings on to our customers. But we have also made a decision to invest in our assets; a decision we did not make lightly. This is a long-term investment and reflects our future commitment to the region. It is important to note, the refurbishment works are funded through existing capital expenditure.

We have made significant savings over the past year which has seen a landmark drop in our revenue requirement from $504.7 million during the previous pricing period, to $439.6 million over the next four years. We are returning these savings to our customers as price reductions of around 10 per cent for most customers.

GMW’s vision is a fair, affordable and efficient irrigation delivery system now and for decades to come. And that’s exactly what we are building. After all, this is our GMID and our GMW.

Charmaine Quick,

Managing Director

Goulburn-Murray Water