Board Observer (Aboriginal) Program Scholarship

This Board Observer (Aboriginal) Program aligns with our strategic direction to go beyond water for strong communities.

In particular, it supports our commitment to build governance and leadership skills within our region.

What does the program involve?

This program is an opportunity for an individual from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community to bring their unique and independent perspectives as an observer to the Wannon Water Board.

The 12-month scholarship provides opportunities to develop skills in good governance and networking.

The program involves:

  • Attendance at Wannon Water Board meetings over a 12-month period.
  • A scholarship of $19,255 ($740.58 paid fortnightly) and reimbursement of reasonable meeting attendance costs.
  • An option to undertake the five-day Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) course which is funded by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).
  • An option to join DEECA’s network of Aboriginal directors and delegates
  • Ongoing support during the program.

The observer may choose to provide their insights during Board discussions on topics that include:

  • Urban water management and its connection to cultural values
  • Cultural awareness and cultural safety
  • Community engagement, Aboriginal and Traditional Owner networks
  • Our Reconciliation Action Plan.

It’s important to note that the observer is not a Director or an employee. They will not participate in decisions and do not have the same responsibilities as a Board Director under the Water Act 1989, the Public Administration Act 2004, and any other statutory provision.

We will also continue to seek guidance and advice by engaging with Traditional Owner groups and Aboriginal Victorians in our community.

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Who can apply?

You can apply if you’re a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who is living in or lives close to Victoria. You’re not required to be a representative of the Traditional Owner groups on whose Country we operate.

This is an Aboriginal Designated Scholarship, classified under ‘special measures’ of Section 12 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. Only Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people can apply.

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What do I have to commit to?

There are a number of important responsibilities that come with accepting the scholarship:

  • Confidentiality – Signing an agreement to maintain the confidentiality of Board papers, decisions and discussions.
  • Conflict of interest – Declaring personal and business interests, and managing these in line with public sector expectations.
  • Code of Conduct – Maintaining compliance with our Code of Conduct and any reasonable conduct requirement.
  • Induction program - Attending a half-day induction program prior to starting the program. This includes a briefing into our governance and operations.
  • Preparation -Reading Board papers to prepare for monthly Board meetings.

There are also some other opportunities that are optional:

  • Attending other Board committee meetings and activities that may be scheduled from time to time.
  • Attending the AICD training.
  • Attending DEECA’s network of Aboriginal Directors and delegates.

How much time will I need?

There is an initial half-day induction program. The minimum time commitment would then be around two days each month. This includes time to attend meetings, travel, reading and prepare for meetings. Participating in the optional Board activities, committee meeting attendance and AICD training will increase the time commitment.

Electronic Board agendas are issued one week prior to each Board meeting. They generally take about four hours to read.

Are there any other important considerations?

The observer may choose to end their participation in the program at any time over the 12 months.

We will hold discussions with the observer if they fail to attend consecutive meetings or don’t comply with the confidentiality, conflict of interest or Code of Conduct requirements. Where appropriate we may end the program early.

Scholarship payments will cease if the program ends early.

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We’re planning to start the scholarship at the Board meeting scheduled for 17 May 2024.

The observer has to enrol in the optional five-day AICD course before 30 June 2024 to qualify for DEECA funding. The course can be completed at a later date.

Board meetings and other important dates for the program are currently scheduled for:

  • Board meeting - 17 May 2024
  • Board meeting - 21 June 2024
  • No meeting in July 2024
  • Board meeting - 16 August 2024
  • VicWater Conference - 11 and 12 September 2024
  • Strategic Planning Workshop - 16 and 17 October 2024
  • Board meeting - 18 October 2024
  • Board meeting - 15 November 2024
  • Board meeting - 6 December 2024
  • No meeting in January 2025
  • Board meeting - 21 February 2025
  • Board meeting - 21 March 2025
  • No Board meeting scheduled in April 2025. A Melbourne meeting is tentatively planned.

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Who are we looking for?

We encourage applications from individuals who are starting off in their career through to people who are seeking to expand their experience.

We’re keen to appoint a person who would benefit from the scholarship by contributing to Wannon Water’s culture and supporting their community.

Ideally, they’ll:

  • Have experience and/or a future interest in leadership, management and governance.
  • The ability to apply their knowledge to benefit the community.
  • The ability to contribute to the culture and dynamic of our Board.

We’ll endeavour to create a culturally safe and supportive selection process so that candidates can present their best case.

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Expressions of interest will close 21 April 2024.

If you’re interested, please submit an application that describes why you would be suitable for the scholarship, attach your resume and send it to

Where can I get further information?

Please contact Andrew Jeffers during business hours on 1300 926 666 or via email

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