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Robyn McLeod, former Thiess company director, former AWU official now a director of DeSal plant customer Melbourne Water

Reader Mr P writes:

Hi Michael,
John Thwaites was the Water Minister in the in the previous Labor Government responsible for the Desalination Plant.
Premier Andrews has appointed him Chairman of the Melbourne Water Board. 
They have been waiting for any excuse to fire up the White Elephant and hope like hell they can find the power to keep it going.
Jobs for the boys.
Keep up the good work.
Let's take a look at the Melbourne Water website and while you're opening that, why not open this insight into how small the world is.
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Board of Directors

John Thwaites B.Sc, LLB and GAICD


Mr Thwaites was Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1999 to 2007. He has held various ministerial positions during his career including being the Minister for Environment, Water and Climate Change. 

He is currently the Professorial Fellow and Chair at Monash Sustainability Institute, the Chair at ClimateWorks Australia, Australian Building Codes Board, The Peter Cullen Trust and Brotherhood of St Laurence. 

He is also a Director at The Australian Green Building Council, member of the Leadership Council at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a Consultant at Maddocks Solicitors. 

Mr Thwaites was appointed as Chair of Melbourne Water on 1 October, 2015.


And look who else pops up! The former AWU official, former Thiess employee, former director of a Thiess company board  and current best friend of the former Prime Minister (and fellow B Wilson club member) J Gillard.

Funny she forgot to mention she worked for the AWU and Thiess, both parties to the DeSal plant financial extravaganza.

Robyn McLeod

B.A, B.Ed, Dip.Ed and GAICD


Robyn McLeod has held the positions of Independent Commissioner for Water Security in South Australia, National Director of Water at KPMG, and Executive Director of Major Projects, Water with the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria. 

She was Chief of Staff to the Victorian Energy Resources and Ports Minister, and an Advisor to the Victorian Environment and Education Minister. Ms McLeod has previously worked in Higher Education to industry, Industrial Relations, and Secondary Teaching.

Robyn is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at The Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Previous Board positions include as an inaugural Director of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation and Chair of this organizations Risk and Audit Committee.  

Ms McLeod was appointed to the Melbourne Water Board on 1 October, 2015. 


So what does Melbourne Water say about the decision to start sending more money to the DeSal business?

The Minister acts on the advice of the water authorities - from the Melbourne Water media release dated 6 March 2016:

Melbourne Water Managing Director, Michael Wandmaker, said given the year on year reduction in storage volumes, it was appropriate to access additional water to ensure security of supply.

“The desalination plant supplies rainfall-independent, large-scale drinking water. It is part of Melbourne’s diverse range of actions and initiatives to reduce the pressure on our drinking water supplies, including recycled water projects, local stormwater re-use initiatives and improved water conservation,” said Mr Wandmaker. 

“The 50 billion litre order will help refill Melbourne’s water storages and place us in a better position to rebuild storage volumes, supporting population growth, climate change and year to year weather fluctuations. It also provides a buffer against extreme events like bushfire and severe drought. 

“When talking about something as critical as drinking water for Melbourne and surrounds, we need a system we can count on.” 

The recommendation to order water was based on detailed modelling, analysis and long-term scenario planning.

It considered a range of factors such as the best balance of security of supply, current and forecast storage conditions, water demands, water supply operations, Bureau of Meteorology outlooks and cost to customers. 

The 50 billion litre desalinated water order is expected to increase the average residential household water bill by around $12 in 2016/17. 

A summary document explaining the water industry’s technical analysis that informed the Minister’s water order decision can be found at melbournewater.com.au/desalination


Looks like they were ready to roll with the PR - this video was released over the weekend:


Melbourne Water is strong on PR about the money it's sending to the DeSal plant people, not so much about the money its directors get paid, especially since this 
But we can see how much help the "professionals" at Melbourne Water need from consultants to do their jobs.  
$2M worth.   
At least they won't need a consultant expert to advise on their EBA with staff now they've secured Robyn McLeod, the former union rep for their workers who graduated to working for the Melbourne Water outsourcing partner and DeSal plant money-bags Thiess!
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It might provide fascinating insights for the Board's diligent directors to look back through the Melbourne Water archives and its dealings with Thiess (did we mention Robyn McLeod worked there?)
IN order to discharge its contractual obligations to Melbourne Water, Thiess engaged Western Australia's most highly regarded water consultancy experts, that well known provider of expertise so secret that no one knows what it actually was  - the Australian Workers' Union - Workplace Reform Association Inc.   And did we mention that Robyn McLeod worked at the AWU for the AWU-WRA Inc's mastermind, Bruce Wilson too? His car was seen at her place a bit, so they must have had a lot to discuss with Bruce and Robyn putting in after hours and all.
Current directors might even find copies of these initials!
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No Robyn, we haven't forgotten.



It might be useful for the directors of Melbourne Water to know that Ms McLeod was also a director of a Thiess company, along with Bruce Wilson:


And if directors are having trouble finding the original EBA between Thiess and its workers, they can see it here - proudly displaying the appearance by former AWU official Robyn McLeod who'd mysteriously moved to the employer side working for Thiess:


Wonder why Ms McLeod's bio doesn't record those halcyon AWU and Thiess days?