Home State: New South Wales
University: University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Qualifications: Bachelor of Environmental Science (Geography) - UNSW (Sydney)
PhD (Coastal Geomorphology) - UNSW (Canberra)
I have always been passionate about the environment, and from a young age wanted to have a job where I dealt with matters related to the natural world. so to this day I still have trouble explaining my choice to start an engineering degree when I finished school. This mistake was eventually remedied, but not before I had spent two years learning about the mechanics of solids in a calculus-filled hole of despair. Needless to say, when I switched to environmental science life got a whole lot better, and I never looked back.
After completing my undergraduate degree, a combination of 'not being ready for a real job' and 'wanting to be more of an expert' led me to Canberra to do a PhD. (I admit that Canberra is probably not the most obvious choice of location for coastal geomorphology, but my field site was in far north Queensland).
While completing my PhD I decided to apply for grad programs for two reasons. Firstly, I had grown to love Canberra and was determined to find a job here. Secondly (and more importantly), although I had the typical range of student jobs for the best part of 10 years, I had no professional experience at all and everyone told me that grad programs were a great option for someone like me. Because of my environmental background the one I was most keen to get into was the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts and I was very excited when I found out I had been accepted.
First Placement: Compliance Section, Approvals and Wildlife Division
My first rotation was with the Compliance Section in the Approvals and Wildlife Division. The section is responsible for enforcing Australia's national environmental law, the EPBC Act, and investigating cases where a breach may have occurred. Often this will be proponents (e.g. developers, mining or construction companies, or local governments) clearing land which contains threatened flora and fauna species, but the full range of cases is very diverse. I was also fortunate enough to do some field work with the Environmental Investigations Unit in Perth. There I helped the team to execute a search warrant looking for illegally imported items in a suburban house, and a monitoring warrant mapping illegally cleared areas on a remote farm.
Second Placement: Water Regulation Section, Water Reform Division
My second rotation was with the Water Regulation Section in the Water Reform Division. In short, this section deals with legal matters related to the Water Act. While I was working there I was directly involved in developing regulations under the Act, as well as developing a national framework for dealing with water theft. This was very interesting as it gave me exposure to an extremely high profile issue, as well as experience in high level government processes, including how the Commonwealth works with states and territories on matters.
Third Placement: Air Quality Section, Environment Quality Division
My third rotation was with the Air Quality Section in the Environment Quality Division. This section works on strategies to protect and improve urban air quality. The project I was most closely involved with aimed at reducing pollutant emissions from small engines such as those found in gardening equipment and marine outboards. I was directly involved in developing the final regulation impact statement, as well as related project management.
Final placement: Compliance 2 Section, Approvals and Wildlife Division
My final placement was with the Compliance 2 Section in the Approvals and Wildlife Division. This was where I did my first rotation and the one that I enjoyed the most. I was very happy to be able to come back.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'