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University of Adelaide
Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Honours)
I was born and raised in the small rural town of Ardrossan in South Australia. At 15, I expanded my horizons by travelling on a student exchange to Missouri, USA. While I always had an interest in the environment, the different plants, landscapes and wildlife of Midwest USA sparked my interest in the environment as an area for future study. After completing Year 12, I moved to Adelaide where I completed my degree in Environmental Studies, while continuing the university tradition of working as a part-time waiter.
I studied a range of areas in my degree, but majored in geography and environmental management, particularly relating to biodiversity conservation, wetland and water management, and Quaternary environmental history. In 2007, I completed my Honours dissertation, using pollen analysis to infer vegetation and climate change in the Coorong region over the past 6000 years. I applied to the DEWHA graduate program midway through my Honours year with a desire to become involved in Government policy and decision making processes.
The Environmental Watering Policy Section develops policy advice on issues related to environmental watering. It also inputs into major environmental watering programs, such as The Living Murray Initiative and the Australian Government's Restoring the Balance in the Basin water buyback program. During this placement I developed a set of guidelines for proponents of environmental watering to use to self-assess whether they need to refer their action under the EPBC Act. I also gained experience working on high-level briefs, organised and participated in a field trip to northern NSW to visit several Ramsar wetlands, and participated in other policy development activities, including the aquatic component of Caring for our Country.
The NSW/ACT State NRM Team is one of seven state teams within Australian Government Land and Coasts. Land and Coasts is a joint team of DEWHA and DAFF staff that is involved in wrapping up the Government's previous NRM programs, the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, while also implementing the Government's new NRM program, Caring for our Country, which began in July 2008. During this placement, I gained program delivery experience working with stakeholders outside of the Department on NHT and NAP projects and reporting, while also negotiating aspects of the ACT Caring for our Country bilateral agreement.
This small taskforce was formed to provide support to a review of the legislative and administrative framework underpinning Caring for our Country. My role included: preparing research papers; providing advice on the broader whole-of-government policy and program context in which Caring for our Country is operating; briefing Ministers on key policy and budget issues; and undertaking interdepartmental consultation with central agencies. The role of the taskforce has now been formalised as an internal section to provide strategic policy advice on the operation of the program and respond to emerging issues across the division.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'