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Flinders University of South Australia
Bachelor of Science, (BSC) Major in Biology and Ecology (2002)
Bachelor of Environmental Management (BEM, 2007)
I have always had an interest in nature and science. This is probably why throughout my schooling I always performed well in these areas. After a false start studying aquaculture I changed to a BSc at Flinders University before moving to Cork, Ireland for a year. Although some people say that overseas travel has minimal benefit, I found living, working and travelling overseas to be invaluable. So much so that after returning home and saving money again, I headed to North and South America, and back to Europe, before undertaking my BEM degree.
Throughout this period I worked full time as a manager at a cinema. While I learnt a great deal through my time at the cinema, I realised that my future was not there. I chose to come to the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts because I wanted to effect positive change in Australia. I now feel that the combination of my studies, work and travel holds me in good stead to move forward and achieve in the Department.
My first rotation was quite a smooth transition for me. Having studied environmental management in South Australia, water was always on the radar. That said I have learnt a phenomenal amount about the issues, stakeholders, management and markets involved with water in Australia. Equally interesting has been learning about the machinery of government and what it is that the Department actually does. My section has been very supportive and my supervisor has allowed me to grow by challenging me with a great range of work tasks. These have included writing ministerial replies, question time briefs, briefing for a trip Senator Wong took to South Australia, stakeholder consultation, writing a fact sheet for the Water Purchasing web page, and writing an issues paper on further opportunities to enter the water market.
I chose FUOPS for my second rotation because I am not only interested in the fuels area, but I also wanted to learn about policy work. I think that working on a topic that I have an interest in was an advantage in learning about policy. The Fuels and Used Oil Policy Section (along with another section) has responsibility for administering the Fuel Quality Standards Act, which sets down the standards for land transport fuels in Australia. However, I spent my time looking at renewable fuels, particularly biofuels and the associated sustainability issues. Throughout my time in the section I wrote a number of high level briefing documents, produced reports on sustainability and how to influence consumer choice.
In order to gain experience in the holy trinity of government (program, policy and corporate) I chose the Budget Strategy Unit (BSU) to give me some corporate experience. The Budget Strategy Unit is primarily responsible for managing the development of the Portfolio's new policy proposals and budget processes. This includes identifying and delivering solutions to complex budgetary problems as well as liaising with all Portfolio agencies and Australian Government Departments. During my time in the BSU I provided advice to portfolio agencies on the development of new policy proposals and negotiating resourcing requirements with the Department of Finance and Deregulation, assisted in the preparation of high-level policy documents, including the Strategic Budget Committee Letter, and I contributed to the drafting of complex briefing materials and correspondence for the Minister and Executive.
I loved my first rotation so much, I just had asked to go back. Actually between leaving and returning the section split into two because of the huge increase in workload. I still work on a great range of work tasks including writing ministerial replies and briefing, but I now manage our web page content and am focussing on developing opportunities to enter the water market. Now that I am better established in the section and have a significant project that I can really sink my teeth into, I can think of few places I'd rather be working. I use the knowledge and skills I gained through my degree daily and with the Grad. program behind me I feel far better equipped to do my job and progress through the Department than when I started.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'