After finishing a double degree in Applied Psychology and Management, majoring in Public Policy, I decided to indulge my interest in travel and spent a year in America and Canada. I returned to Canberra and was fortunate enough to land a temporary position in the Department of Sustainability, Enviroment, Water, Population and Communities, and subsequently moved into a permanent role as an environmental assessment officer in the Queensland Assessment Section.
I jumped at the chance to apply for the 2010 Graduate Program as it would provide an opportunity to experience different roles within the many diverse policy and program areas of the Department. Throughout this year I have been presented with challenges, gained valuable new skills, undertook professional and personal development opportunities and met lots of new people.
First Placement: Heritage Projects Section
During my first rotation in the Heritage Projects Section, I was responsible for managing 11 projects in South Australia that received funding under the 2009 Jobs Fund Program. As part of the Jobs Fund program, $60 million was allocated to projects around the country to enhance cultural, indigenous and natural heritage values. I was given the opportunity to visit regional Victoria and meet with funding recipients, such as local historical societies and local councils, to see first hand how their projects were progressing. I was also involved in the development of an evaluation framework to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the Jobs Fund program and gained valuable grant program and contract management experience.
During this rotation I assessed applications and made recommendations for funding for the Commemorating Eminent Australians Program. This involved liaising with applicants, developing assessment guidelines and preparing briefing for the Minister. I really enjoyed my time in this rotation, mainly due to the interesting and varied work and the opportunity to liaise with a range of different stakeholders.
Second Placement: Cultural property Section
My second rotation was in the Cultural Property Section, which is the section responsible for administering the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. This Act regulates the export of culturally important objects, such as fine art, fossils and heritage machinery. During my rotation I developed a training and recognition program for the expert examiners, who independent subject matter experts who voluntarily provide an assessment of the objects to be exported.
I had no prior experience in this field, but the section was really helpful in answering all my questions and pointing me in the direction of relevant information. I met with industry professionals and consulted with internal and external stakeholders. This rotation gave me a good understanding of the operation of the Act and program administration and allowed me to develop my written and verbal communication skills.
Third Placement: Indigenous Protected Areas Section
My third rotation was in the Indigenous Protected Areas Section of Parks Australia. The Indigenous Protected Areas Program supports indigenous land owners to develop and manage their lands as part of Australia's National Reserve System. I was responsible for drafting a chapter on the Program for a publication that documents the history of the Department's involvement in indigenous land management. This task is provided me with a wonderful opportunity to learn about the establishment and growth of a successful and beneficial government program. I also gained exposure to natural resource management and nature conservation issues and worked with a passionate and supportive team.
Final Placement: Branch Improvement and Coordination, Environment Assessment Branches
The Environment Assessment Branches are responsible for assessing development proposals under Chapter 4 of the EPBC Act. My role in the Branch Improvement and Coordination team is to help support the work of the branches by driving initiatives in process improvement, risk management and people management. I am currently involved in the development and delivery of training for environment impact assessment.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'