Wannon Water leads the way in promoting financial inclusion and wellbeing

24 March 2022


Wannon Water is the first organisation in Australia to take its Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) to the next level with the aim of ensuring people have access to basic essential services to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

Branch Manager Retail Services Steven Kearns said Wannon Water wanted to go beyond just providing water and sewerage services and improve the lives of people in South West Victoria.

“In March 2018, we officially became one of 30 Australian trailblazer organisations to launch a Foundation FIAP with the support of Good Shepherd,” Mr Kearns said. “FIAPs were established as one of the responses by G20 countries to the global financial crisis.

“Wannon Water successfully completed the 13 actions we committed to, including training employees to identify and support people impacted by family violence, working with local organisations to support young people experiencing financial hardship, improving workplace flexibility, and undertaking indigenous traineeships.”

Mr Kearns said Wannon Water had a strong track record of supporting people in the community. In the past financial year, 515 customers received hardship rebates and high water use allowances totalling more than $213,000. More than $4 million was also provided through programs such as concession card rebates, not-for-profit organisation rebates, and Water for Community rebates.

“We’re now ready to take our work to the next level by launching Australia’s first-ever Build FIAP,” Mr Kearns said. “This is the next stage in the FIAP journey and commits us to working in partnership with Good Shepherd and other organisations for the next three years.”

Build FIAPs have two components – leadership actions and core commitment actions. Wannon Water’s plan includes a leadership action to improve the quality of tap water for the Portland, Port Fairy and Heywood communities which will contribute to positive health outcomes and reduce the financial impacts on households and local industry.

Some of the core commitment actions in the Build FIAP include:

  • Reviewing and updating financial assistance and high water usage policies
  • Focusing on water efficiency measures
  • Using new customer relationship management systems to proactively identify customers who may be experiencing hardship
  • Aiming to increase the value of spend with social enterprises, disability enterprises and Aboriginal businesses
  • Working with regional suppliers to increase their capability to tender for Wannon Water works and services.

Read Wannon Water's Build FIAP.