ALDE recently held the UDWAG meeting with Melbourne Water(MW) and provide the following updates for our members:

 Project-Based Issues 

Melbourne Water have implemented a new customer service team and escalation process to improve turnaround times on queries.

  • The primary submission or request for documentation is still through their online portal:
  • If you already have an MWA number, then emailing with the relevant MWA number in the subject line is still the best way to communicate in an ongoing manner with your relevant officer at Melbourne Water. 
  • The hotline 131 722 is now recommended for any follow-up, query or escalation. The new phone-based service team will work as a triage service that looks to support you immediately or escalate the concern up through the required team for you.

MW are using this dedicated hotline to gauge their overall level of service and this is being closely monitored for performance. Over the past couple of months, Melbourne Water have used this process to reduce escalation call back times down from 20 days to 4 (and they are looking to further improve  on this figure month to month). All April 2023 service tickets are now closed.

The hotline’s dedicated service officer will have full access to the file for every project and can easily confirm if a document is received, who the project has been assigned to and provide a follow up for you. An escalation process can also be used if you have concerns. 

  • Best practice will be to contact 131 722 for all queries going forward instead of established relationships so all enquiries and follow ups can be appropriately recorded, timed and assigned. 
  • If it’s a broader industry issue, then this can be raised via ALDE and the UDWAG meetings which are MW industry meetings with ALDE. Everything raised and discussed at these meetings is noted and followed up with actions where required and any outcomes or changes from these matters can be communicated to all members of the land development engineering community.
  • Melbourne Water are seeking feedback from consultants through this ongoing survey. This will be monitored monthly to assess service levels.

Melbourne Water Statutory Developer Services Leadership Team 

Melbourne Water has transformed the model of Statutory Developer Services (now Urban Planning and Development) and has brought in significant new skills and experience. View more details about the team and their experience in this Melbourne Water newsletter.

Flood safety and people safety in terms of risk – registered engineers and interpretation of the act 

Applications assessed by the Statutory Developer Services team are required to comply with the relevant legislative framework and supporting decision guidelines, at the discretion of Melbourne Water in its capacity as the floodplain management authority.

Key decision makers within our Statutory teams are empowered to exercise discretion in limited circumstances where evidence-based data allows. Reviews of Melbourne Water decisions can be done via VCAT, the Building Appeals Board or other relevant appeal bodies.

Historically, MW would have allowed matters to be resolved post permit and work through this with developers/ consultants, but this approach is not viable with the risk profile associated with interim works for unresolved sequencing of development.

As a regulator, Melbourne Water is required by legislation to assess applications against specific policies within the Victorian Planning System.

Urban Development & Planning Newsletter

MW released their Urban Development & Planning Newsletter with news on driving Performance Outcomes & their KPIs, new Interim Guidelines for Sea Level Rise, the Maribyrnong Flood Review & Enquiry & more. Read it here