Publications archive

James

James

Home State

New South Wales

University

University of Technology, Sydney
University of New South Wales

Qualifications

Bachelor of Business
Master of Environmental Management

Background

I initially completed a Bachelor of Business at the University of Technology, Sydney before deciding to change tack with my lifestyle and career. When I finished up my studies I wasn't satisfied with the direction of my career, so I packed up my life and headed for the NSW Snowy Mountains to pursue a job as a full-time professional ski patroller, an opportunity that enabled me to travel and work in the US. Working in and around the wilderness of Australia's alpine areas, you appreciate the fragility of our environment. So in between working at the snow I embarked on a Master of Environmental Management at the Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW. Whilst studying at the IES I tried to focus on areas that I found particularly interesting, primarily biodiversity conservation, protected area management and multi-jurisdictional approaches to environmental problems. Following the completion of my masters degree I felt that I needed a good avenue to implement the skills and knowledge that I had developed over the years. The DEWHA graduate program was an obvious choice, primarily due to the amount of diversity the portfolio has in terms of its environmental management responsibilities and the support and development opportunities offered to graduates in the program...not to mention the fact that Canberra is pretty close to the snow!

Placements

First Placement

Parks Australia Division/Parks Strategic Development Section

For my first placement I worked in the Parks Strategic Development Section for Parks Australia. This section provides a supporting and strategic function to the Commonwealth's various terrestrial protected areas, which include the world heritage listed Kakadu National Park and Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory. In my time in PSDS my primary project was to develop an approach that Parks Australia may take into developing and maintaining a consolidated species inventory for its various parks. In addition to this function, I was also tasked with assisting the development of some of the management plans for the parks. This enabled me to get out and visit Booderee National Park on the NSW South Coast as part of the stakeholder consultation process. My time with PSDS enabled me to get exposure to a range of protected area management issues that the Commonwealth faces in managing its terrestrial reserves.

Second Placement

Approvals and Wildlife Division/Environmental Assessment Branch/WA & SA Section

For my second rotation I worked in environmental assessments in the WA and SA section. This section deals with projects that are referred to theĀ  Minister under the Commonwealth's Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to determine if they are likely to have impacts on matters of national environmental significance. During my time in WASA I completed a number of referrals under the EPBC Act. This involved gaining an in-depth knowledge of projects and their associated impacts, preparing briefing material for the minister or decision delegate and talking to proponents and stakeholders about the environmental impacts of their projects, all within tight statutory deadlines. My rotation also involved asssisting in the development of policy to ensure better environmental outcomes when completing environmental assessments as well as undertaking a site visit to WA.

Third Placement

Australian Antarctic Division/Policy Coordination Branch/Territories, Treaties and Environment Section

For my third rotation I was lucky enough to travel to Hobart to work as part of the Australian delegation to the 28th meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) with the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). CCAMLR is an international body made up of 25 member nations that manages the Southern Ocean for conservation permitting rational use. It is distinguished by its application of the precautionary principle and ecosystems approach in developing its decisions.

The main focus of my work was to assist in the preparation of briefing material for the annual meeting of CCAMLR in Hobart. This involved liaising with various government departments, reviewing scientific papers, developing and writing briefing papers and coordinating the overall briefing process. I was also fortunate enough to be able to attend the CCAMLR meeting as an advisor, an opportunity that enabled me to experience first hand international negotiations in a conservation context.

Final Placement

Approvals and Wildlife Division/Environmental Assessment Branch/WA & SA Section

For my final placement I ended up returning to the WASA section in the Approvals and Wildlife Division, as I found the work there rewarding, dynamic and focussed on pressing environmental issues.


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