Utilita Water Solutions prides itself on a simple purpose: providing the best service for communities in south-east Queensland. 

It's more than a slogan too; this philosophy is a core part of a performance evolution that the team has been undertaking for the past two years. A process centered around empowering and enabling staff to realise their full potential.

Safety and health above all else

Safety is key to this, and according to Health and Safety Manager Rodney Lawless, it fits perfectly into the wider evolution in the team's performance.

"Safety is first and foremost in all that we do, but we know it is not our only priority," Rodney said.

"So, we take an approach that allows us to look at the work as a whole and better understand it, and how we can improve the way we do it.

Safety is always a leading part of our conversations, and by first talking about the task and understanding the work in detail, we can ensure we provide the necessary support and enable our people.

Rodney says that since they started on their performance journey, he's been blown away by the change in the depth of conversations the team has, particularly around safety. 

"The biggest results we've had is the change in engagement," Rodney said.

"We have so many more people contributing to the key discussions now, sharing things they otherwise might not have and it gives us such a better picture of the work and how we might improve it and make it even safer."

Utilia water services site with vehicle pictured

Safety powering results

The team has also seen tangible safety results.

"We saw the power of this process a while back when we had an emerging trend on vehicle incidents," Rodney said

"We brought a group together from across the team to work on the solution."

"They developed a process that they thought would work, it didn't rely on documentation, it was something that by going through the activity they felt would land well with the whole team."

"Once we implemented that what we got was a complete disruption to that trend."

The approach that the leaders are using to drive performance is focused around empowering the team to be their best and ensuring accountability and responsibility is with the right person each and every day. 

What you end up with is a better understanding of the work you are doing, the variability in the work and a team that is empowered to guide you to what can be improved, Rodney said.

The team uses a number of philosophies to guide their work including:

  • Leading differently 
  • Empowering people
  • Becoming a learning organisation
  • Identifying what went right 
  • Developing resilience


Utilia water services team pictured sitting at table

About Utilita

Utilita is a joint venture between Downer and Ventia and delivers a range of work for Urban Utilities including preventative, corrective and responsive maintenance, inspections and renewals for mechanical and electrical assets and civil maintenance for a range of assets including:

  • 123 water reservoirs
  • 39 water pump stations
  • 8,967 km of water transfer and distribution pipelines 
  • 105 water boosters
  • 336 wastewater pump stations
  • 9,152 km of transfer and distribution wastewater pipelines
  • 28 wastewater treatment plants


Utilita work-site attire