Corporate governance

The Board of Directors is committed to achieving excellence in corporate governance.

Key documents

Key documents and instruments which form part of our corporate governance framework and highlight WaterNSW’s commitment to corporate governance are set out below.

Commercial Policy Framework

The NSW Government has a significant investment in a portfolio of Government businesses and the NSW Treasury seeks to ensure that this investment is managed efficiently and effectively.

The Commercial Policy Framework is the suite of Treasury policies that apply to Government businesses. It includes policies related to the commercial circumstances of these Government businesses and also aims to replicate in Government businesses the disciplines and incentives that lead private sector businesses towards efficient commercial practices.

You can view the policy papers on the NSW Treasury website.

State Owned Corporations Act 1989

The State Owned Corporations Act 1989 (SOC Act) provides for the establishment and operation of New South Wales Government enterprises as State-owned Corporations.

Water NSW Act 2014

The Water NSW Act was passed by the NSW Parliament to establish WaterNSW, by merging State Water Corporation (State Water) and the former Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA).

Specifically, under this Act, from the 1 January 2015:

  • State Water continued, albeit with a new name of Water NSW (WaterNSW);
  • SCA was abolished; and
  • The operations (including assets, rights and liabilities) of the SCA were transferred to WaterNSW.

This Act also established WaterNSW as a SOC and sets out its principal objectives and functions. It also provides for other important structural and operational matters, like the continuation of the Operating Licence; the continuation of the regulation; some aspects of the Board’s composition; the appointment and employment of the CEO; and empowerment of WaterNSW to undertake certain things necessary to perform its statutory functions.

On 1 July 2016, WaterNSW was conferred functions previously performed by the Department of Primary Industries – Water (DPI Water).

WaterNSW Constitution

The Constitution (PDF, 371.84 KB) sets out the internal corporate rules relating to the governance and operation of WaterNSW; including rules as to how Board meetings are to be conducted.

Operating Licence

WaterNSW operates under an operating licence granted by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). The operating licence enables WaterNSW to exercise its functions under the Water NSW Act 2014. The Operating Licence also contains a number of reporting obligations on WaterNSW.

Each year, IPART audits and reports on the organisation’s performance against the licence provisions. Penalties may be imposed for non-compliance. You can view previous operational audits on the IPART website.

The Board

The Board sets the overall policy, strategy and direction of WaterNSW.

Powers of the Board

Under Section 20L of the SOC Act, all decisions relating to the operation of WaterNSW are to be made by or under the authority of the board; and the Chief Executive is responsible for the day-to-day management of WaterNSW in accordance with the general policies and specific directions of the board.

The Board has adopted a Charter (PDF, 218.9 KB) which builds on the key legislation and instruments set out above.

The Charter is reviewed annually to ensure it remains consistent with WaterNSW’s objectives and best-practice corporate governance.

Board membership

The Board has eight directors comprising a non-executive Chair, six non-executive directors and one executive director (the Chief Executive Officer).

The non-executive Directors are appointed by the voting shareholders as set out in the WaterNSW Act 2014 and hold their office for a period of up to five years, which may be renewed by the Shareholders.

The Directors come from a wide range of backgrounds and bring to the Board an appropriate mix of skills and experience.

Board Committees

To assist in carrying out its responsibilities, the Board has established standing Board committees that cover each of Assets, Audit & Risk, Customer Transaction & System Operations, Nominations, Safety, People and Capability and Water Quality, Health and Catchment Protection.

Code of Conduct

The Board is required to have a Code of Conduct appropriate for Directors with stewardship of a significant State-owned corporation responsible for important public functions.

The Board has adopted a Code of Conduct (PDF, 1508.09 KB) that applies to all directors and sets out, amongst other things, the standards in accordance with which they are expected to act.

Reporting fraud and other unethical, dishonest or corrupt conduct

Ethical behaviour is important to WaterNSW. We view actual or suspected acts of fraud, corruption or other wrongdoing as serious matters. For that reason, WaterNSW is committed to considering all reports of actual or suspected incidence of wrongdoing and, where appropriate, investigating and taking other appropriate action.

The Public Interest Disclosure Policy sets out how WaterNSW meets its obligations under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2022 (NSW). The policy applies to public officials, including (but not limited to) employees of WaterNSW and employees of entities contracted to perform services on behalf of WaterNSW.

The public interest disclosure scheme supplements existing avenues for complaints. Please see our Feedback and complaints page for information about avenues available for customers and members of the public.

Accessing our information

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) aims to facilitate public access to government information. The GIPA Act provides rights to information that are designed to meet community expectations of more open and transparent government. It encourages the routine and proactive release of government information, including information held by providers of goods and services by government agencies. Find out more about how to access our information.

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WaterNSW acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and pay our respects to all elders past, present and emerging. Learn more