Department of the Environment

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Publications archive

Disclaimer

Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Catherine E

Home State

New South Wales

University

University of New South Wales

Degree/s

Bachelor of Environmental Science (first class honours)

Background

I'm a graduate from the University of New South Wales with a degree in Environmental Science, majoring in human geography. Throughout my degree I developed an interest in urban sustainability and for my honours project I examined the connection between urban form (specifically density), distance to public transport and travel behaviour.

I applied for the graduate program at DEWHA because I was looking for a job where I could make a difference. The wide diversity of the issues DEWHA deals with was also an incentive. Work at the Department has proved to be highly variable and very enjoyable.

First Placement

Urban Water Section

My first placement in the Urban Water Section fit well with my interest in urban sustainability. During my time with Urban Water I assisted with project development for the Rainwater and Greywater Initiative. A component of this was grants to Surf lifesaving clubs, which I was able to take a lead role on. I also assisted with general section work; learning how to write ministerial correspondents, briefs and talking point.

Second Placement

Biodiversity Conservation Section

For my second placement I moved to the Biodiversity Conservation Section. In this rotation I assisted the section in providing secretariat support to the inter-jurisdictional task group undertaking the review of the National Biodiversity Strategy. This involved assisting to organise Task Group meetings, drafting agenda and meeting papers, attending Task Group meetings, taking minutes and assisting to draft and edit content of the Strategy. This rotation gave me valuable experience liaising across departments within the Australian Government, as well as with State and Territory government representatives. It gave me first hand experience of the difficulties in reaching consensus across jurisdictions, particularly in an area where the Australian Government has limited constitutional responsibility. I learnt that the process of policy development in this sort of environment is one of constant redrafting to try to incorporate the various views of different jurisdictions.

Third Placement

Indigenous Heritage East Section

My third placement was with the Indigenous Heritage East Section. During this rotation my main task was a research project examining Indigenous burning practices across northern Australia. Through this project I gathered information about past and present indigenous burning practices and produced a reference document to assist with the assessment of places nominated to the National Heritage list for their indigenous heritage values.

During this rotation I also gained valuable insight into the operation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act by assisting the section with the processing and management of applications for short and long term protection of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander heritage under the Act. I also increased my understanding of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act by assisting to develop responses to internal requests for information regarding developments which had been referred to Minister Garrett for assessment under the EPBC Act.

'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'