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University of Western Australia
Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) (Zoology) (Honours)
Having spent my childhood in Western Australia I naturally spent a lot of it outdoors, particularly at the beach. From a very young age I was captivated by all forms of life under the water, particularly the animals. Studying Zoology was always on the agenda. As I grew older my fascination of animals grew to a broader love of the ecosystems which support them, and incorporated Environmental Science into my degree. I also took a years break from the degree backpacking throughout Europe. Spending a large amount of time in congested and urbanised areas I came back to Australia with an invigorated passion of Australia's landscape and diverse ecosystems. I volunteered for a number of local environmental groups and was even more certain that environmental issues were going to keep me interested for many more years to come. I completed my degree with an honours year researching evolutionary accepts of marsupial reproductive structures.
Post honours I worked as a research assistant and a tutor at the University of Western Australia, where I realised that a life in academia was at all that appealing. I then spent 8 months working in the private sector as an environmental scientist working on a research project to determine certain ecological requirements of a ground water dependent ecosystem. It was here that I gained an appreciation of the interdependence of sound science and environmental management, polices and practices. I applied for the DEWHA graduate program because it appeared to be a great arena to gain environmental management and decision-making skills and an understanding of how serious environmental issues are addressed at a high level.
The section is responsible for assessing developments in Western Australia and South Australia referred under the EPBC Act. During my time in this section I managed and assessed a number of proposed developments in the south West of Western Australia and their potential impacts on matters of national environmental significance. As part of this work, I had the opportunity to mange and take part in travel to Western Australia to a number of proposed development sites and meet with key stakeholders and proponents, including local councils and scientists.
The International Section coordinates the Department's international relations and engagement. I had the opportunity to work on a research project that involved developing a discussion paper about environmental provisions in Australia's free trade agreements, as well a Departmental position paper on trade and eco-labelling. I was also involved in the sections regular work such as coordinating Departmental input on Australia's bilateral relationships, writing ministerial briefs and ministerial letters and addressing cabinet submissions.
The Supervision and Assessment unit undertakes the supervision of uranium mining and exploration activities in the Alligator Rivers Region by way of a system of audits and inspections, and by participating in the Northern Territory regulatory processes of assessing applications for authorisation changes. I had the opportunity to participate in the audits and inspections of Ranger Mine, reviews of the environmental management plans and reports of the mine, participation on the Minesite Technical Committee and meetings with traditional land owners. My main role was the completion of research on potential impacts of ammonia on the vegetation and water sources in the Ranger Mine via land application of effluent water.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'