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Brendan T

Brendan T

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University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Campus


Bachelor of Science in Biodiversity, Park & Wildlife Management


Having grown up in South Australia with a family that was quite literally obsessed with fishing and camping I was fortunate to be exposed to the 'outdoors' at quite an early age. Whether it was chasing King George Whiting at Coffin Bay in the State's far west or kayaking through the Murray Lands in the upper north-east, this interaction with nature was to be influential and ultimately lead to my future studies in the environmental field.

After finishing high school I decided to defer my first year of University when I moved to the State's south-east to begin work in the family building trade. Upon my return to Adelaide I attended the University of South Australia where I undertook a Bachelor of Science in Biodiversity, Park & Wildlife Management at Mawson Lakes Campus. The subjects I studied varied from advanced biology and environmental law to soil science and outdoor leadership.

After completing my degree in 2003 I travelled through Canada for 12 months, working my way through the ski fields of British Columba and Alberta before applying for a volunteer position in Algonquin National Park in Ontario, 2 hours north of Toronto. After a quick stop over in Dublin, Ireland (lasting a little over 2 years) and further volunteer work in Kilarny National Park, I returned to South Australia where I took up residence at the Cape Borda Lighthouse on Kangaroo Island, working as an Environmental/Interpretive Officer with National Parks & Wildlife, SA. After 18 months of interrupted sleep patterns (Cape Borda being both a working lighthouse and 24hour weather station) I moved to Canberra with my partner and started working for DEWHA in the 2009 Graduate program.


First Placement

Tourism & National Landscapes, Parks Australia Division

I guess it was no surprise when I joined the program that I landed my first rotation working in the Parks Australia Division with a relatively new program known as Tourism & National Landscapes. The program itself is a joint initiative between Parks Australia and Tourism Australia and aims to promote the top 20 iconic Australian nature based tourism destinations to international experience seeking visitors. Working in a relatively small team (a total of 3 people), my duties included daily correspondence with State and regional tourism agencies as well as national park organisations. The highlight of my first rotation was a three day trip to the Whitsunday's in which I assisted in conducting workshops with the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority (GBMPA) in Airlie Beach, Gladstone and McKay.

Second Placement

Sustainable Fisheries, Marine Division

For my second placement I found myself in the Sustainable Fisheries section of the Marine Division, and as far as I was concerned, my dream job.....almost. The work itself in theory was simple; write an Assessment Report on a state fishery which in my case turned out to be the Tasmanian Giant Crab Fishery and then get Ministers approval. The practical side however turned out to be a little more difficult. Taking up pretty much the entire 3 months of my rotation, it involved researching in detail the history of the fishery taking into account total catch from previous seasons, recreational take, the number of professional licences and breading/migration habits. In the end however the work was fulfilling and resulted in a published Assessment which now appears on the government website.

Final Placement

Compliance and Enforcement Branch, Approvals and Wildlife Division

For my final rotation I was fortunate to gain a position in the Compliance and Enforcement section of the Approvals and Wildlife Division. At the time I didn't know, but this placement was to be where I would eventually end up at the end of the Graduate year. The team I now belong to responsible for enforcing the EPBC Act, Australia's environmental legislation and policing proponents who fail to comply. Some of the more interesting cases I have been involved in include the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve and future plans for mining in Cape York and the Sugarloaf Pipeline in Victoria.

During my time here I have also been fortunate to do some field work, including a week long trip to Victoria with the Environmental Investigations Unit (EIU), issuing search warrants, collecting soil samples and taking witness statements.

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