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University of Melbourne
University of California- Berkeley
Bachelor of Music (Honours) / Diploma of Arts (Environmental Studies)
I grew up in inner city Melbourne but I spent most of my childhood camping throughout Victoria, rock climbing at Mount Arapiles and swimming and lifesaving at the beaches of Port Phillip bay. I was always intensely interested in the plants, animals and landscapes around me; however it wasn't until I began travelling overseas as a teenager that I realise just how fragile and valuable the Australian environment really was, and how easily it could be destroyed by poor environmental management.
Music is also a significant part of my life, I have undertaken Classical Vocal training for many years and also play Bassoon and Clarinet. From a young age I performed publicly in a variety of choirs, orchestras and smaller ensembles. Over the years I performed to a multitude of different audiences; from international sporting crowds, to visiting dignitaries, classical music audiences and recorded vocals for advertising campaigns and several CD's.
I decided to pursue a career as an opera singer and enrolled in a Bachelor of Music (Classical Voice) at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Melbourne. However as I was studying I found that I still had a passion and interest in the environment and began taking ecology subjects as part of my music degree. In the third year of my music degree I had to choose a research specialisation. I decided to combine my interests in music, ecology, the environment and international issues by undertaking study and research in the area of Ethnomusicology. I spent a semester abroad studying ethnomusicology and evolutionary biology at the University of California- Berkeley. When I returned to Australia, I began my honours thesis in the emerging field of Biomusicology. My dissertation Musical nature: Songs of the Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen tyrannica) explored the functionality of Australian Magpie vocalisations from a joint ecological and ethnomusicological basis through extensive fieldwork and the analysis of live recordings.
When it came time to apply for graduate jobs, I was looking for a supportive employer who offered interesting and varied work that I was passionate about and the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts seemed to fit the bill perfectly. The Graduate Program has exposed me to a huge variety of interesting and challenging work and has allowed me to work with some amazing, dedicated and passionate people.
In my first rotation, I was exposed to a wide variety of tasks including project management, policy development, stakeholder liaison, procurement of consulting services, as well as generic public service skills such as ministerial correspondence and public service procedures and protocols. My key expertise area, Acid Sulfate Soils, became highly topical during my time with the Water Quality Section due to the rapid drying out of the Coorong and the Lower Lakes (Lakes Alexandrina and Albert), as a result of the ongoing drought.
In my second rotation I took on the role of a Compliance Officer for the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). During my time in the Compliance Section I undertook initial investigations into a wide variety of potential breaches of the EPBC Act. These incidents ranged across four states and included incidents and proposed actions as diverse as the impacts of mining exploration on threatened species, the deliberate clearing of a listed ecological community, the renovation of Commonwealth Heritage listed buildings, to the potential impacts of proposed residential developments of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. A large part of this role was communicating the perspective of the Department with regards to compliance with the EPBC Act to members of the public (including large private companies and State agencies) who often had large financial and time constraints invested in the proposed action.
I was involved in taking several cases through the Case Management Committee to the investigation stage which involved liaising with the Environmental Investigation Unit. I also assisted in several negotiations with proponents and drafting of environmental remediation orders.
The Supervising Scientist Division, was established to supervise and monitor the environmental performance of uranium mines in the Alligator Rivers Region of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. This rotation was based in Darwin and included fieldwork in the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park. During my time in Darwin I had the opportunity to work with experts in a highly specialised field, develop my ecological research skills and gain technical skills relating to water and sediment sampling, laboratory preparation and radionuclide analysis.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'