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Australian Capital Territory
Australian National University
Bachelor or Science (Geography)/Laws
I grew up and went to school in the rural town of Hay, on the Murrumbidgee River in the Riverina of New South Wales. Growing up in Hay gave me constant exposure to some of the major environmental issues facing rural Australia, in particular water issues, salinity, and drought. It was during these teen years that I developed a passion for the environment. While at high school I came to realise that a strong understanding of the Australian legal system and international law would be highly beneficial to any future career that I might have involving environmental issues.
Following high school I enrolled at ANU to study science and later combined science/law with the aim of eventually working in an environmental field with both a scientific and legal knowledge base.
For a country boy Canberra was a great place to settle as it retains the feel of the country while having all the excitement of the city. Despite what people say the summers are not too hot and the winters are not too cold. Canberra really is the bush capital and feels just like a large country town, which makes it a great place to live and work.
As I came to the end of my studies I decided that I wanted to work in a position that gave me the opportunity to develop my skills and make a difference for the environment. After uni I was really looking forward to getting a real job, and having a break from study, so I applied for a position in the Department.
Accepting this graduate position was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. The work is challenging but rewarding, and being involved in shaping the future of Australia's environment is fantastic. Unlike other jobs I've had in the past I wake up in the morning looking forward to the day ahead.
1. International, Land and Analysis Division, Land Management and Science Branch, Greenhouse and Natural Resource Management Team.
I had two major tasks while in this placement. Firstly, a research project that analysed and reviewed the existing knowledge regarding climate change impacts on natural resource management in Australia at the regional scale. Secondly, an analysis of the extent to which climate change impacts have been included in regional natural resource management plans, and what actions the various plans propose. In addition to these tasks I was also involved in the day-to-day operations of the team.
2. Approvals and Wildlife Division, Policy and Compliance Branch, Environment Investigations Unit (EIU)
The EIU is responsible for investigating possible breaches of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC). In the course of their investigations the EIU frequently needs to obtain information from State/Territory Departments. This disclosure gives rise to several privacy law issues. My main task was to develop a privacy law "tool box" that included 5 template style letters requesting information from State/Territory Departments, and a series of information sheets for each State/Territory that can be attached to the letters. The information sheets outline each State/Territories privacy law/administrative guidelines relating to the disclosure of information to the EIU. This "tool box" will be used to standardise information requests and to reassure States/Territories that the disclosure of information will not result them breaching their privacy law requirements. This "tool box" will be tabled in a "break-out" session at the Australian Environmental Law Enforcement Regulators Network (AELERT) National Conference to be held in Brisbane in October 2005.
3. Industry, Communities and Energy Division/Energy Futures Branch/Solar Cities Team
The Solar Cities Program is a $75 million trial, where solar, energy efficiency, smart meters, load management combine to provide a model for a sustainable energy future. The Program is currently in the assessment phase. During my graduate placement in the Solar Cities Team my major project focused on the development of possible strategies for managing stakeholders involved in the Program. In addition, I completed a variety of smaller projects including several research tasks. One such research task involved energy tariff comparisons between major Australian energy retailers. I have also been involved in making modifications to the Department's funding contract templates so they can be used in the Solar Cities Program. In addition to specific projects/tasks I wrote correspondence on behalf of the Minister and the Department to external stakeholders.
Solar Cities Team, Australian Greenhouse Office, the Department
Since joining the Solar Cities Team as a permanent team member I have taken on several specific responsibilities. I and another team member are responsible for managing the development of the Solar Cities funding agreements. In total these contracts will be worth approximately $75 million. This has involved me reviewing and working on the draft funding contact in conjunction with our legal advisors. In addition I have taken on responsibility for jointly managing the Alice Springs and Adelaide Solar Cities proposals. This has included frequent stakeholder contact and such tasks as responding to queries relating to proposal development and providing feedback on Expression of Interest’s.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'