Department of the Environment

About us | Contact us | Publications

About us header images - leftAbout us header images - centreAbout us header images - right

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Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time.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.

Helen

Helen

Home State

South Australia

University

Monash University
Australian National University

Degree/s

B Science Advanced with Honours (Atmospheric science)
B Music (Performance)

Background

I was either going to become a musician or a scientist and completed a music degree in Canberra as a National Undergraduate Scholar. During this time, I was a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra (which is in fact supported by DEWHA!).

Motivated by increasing concern about climate change, I went on to do a science degree, majoring in atmospheric science and chemistry. I completed honours in atmospheric science and did my honours project at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in air quality. During my science degree, I spent a month doing field work in the Tiwi Islands, north of Darwin, on the Tropical Warm Pool International Cloud Experiment, towards the better understanding of tropical convection.

When I finished studying, I worked as a research assistant in meteorology at Monash University and had the option of pursuing further climate science research. I had always wanted to work at the science/policy interface, using climate science to inform decision makers, so I joined the graduate program at this critical juncture in order to gain this practical experience and learn about decision making processes in Government.

First Placement

Urban Water Security Branch - Water Governance Division

This rotation provided me with valuable experience in project and program management. The Branch is responsible for administering the Water Smart Australia program, National Urban Water and Desalination Program and the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns. These programs fund large-scale, on-ground water projects to secure water in urban areas particularly.

My work involved assisting a project officer with the management of West Australian and Queensland projects; contributing towards development of implementation plans for Centres of Excellence in Water Recycling and Desalination Technology and the development of program guidelines for the new funding programs. I was exposed to whole-of-cycle project management and attended site visits and steering committee meetings.

Second Placement

Science and Adaptation Capacity Team - Adaptation and Land Management Division (Department of Climate Change)

In this rotation I gained broad experience in project management, policy development and program delivery. Responsibilities of the Team include providing advice on climate science to the Minister and the rest of the department; managing the Australian Climate Change Science Program (ACCSP) and supporting climate change adaptation programs and research in Australia.

During my rotation, I assisted with procurement and drafting contracts for a small grants program that builds climate change adaptation into the training programs for professions such as architecture and engineering. I completed an individual research project to inform the next funding cycle of the ACCSP and presented the results to my Branch. Finally, I contributed to the day-to-day work of the Team, including coordinating and drafting a lengthy brief that required a Branch-wide response. This brief was then used as the basis for a major public information campaign on the impacts of climate change across Australia.

Third Placement

Ozone and Synthetic Gas Team - Environment Quality Division

The Ozone and Synthetic Gas Team manage Australia's obligations to phase-out and responsibly manage ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gas alternatives. The majority of my work involved finalising a report on component failure in split-system and mobile air conditioners in order to investigate methods to prevent systems leaking fluorinated refrigerant into the atmosphere. The work was a stand-alone graduate project and built on the work of other graduates who had worked in the team earlier in the year. It was exciting for graduates to have had carriage of active policy in this way.

I also prepared briefings for the Australian delegation to the 20th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol and sought legal advice regarding the application of particular Articles of the Protocol to Australian industry.

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