New South Wales
The Australian National University (ANU)
Bachelor of Asian Studies (Chinese)/ Bachelor of Science
I grew up and completed school in Sydney before accepting a scholarship for the Australia - China Council's Young Scholars in China Program to study in Beijing in 2000. I moved to Canberra in 2001 to study for a double degree in Bachelor of Asian Studies (Chinese) / Bachelor of Science at the ANU, majoring in Mandarin, East Asian history, zoology and botany. During this time I had the opportunity to spend six months studying in Beijing and six months in Nanjing, China. I finally graduated in July 2007 and was offered a job with the Department in September 2007 in the Community Water Grants Section, part of the Land and Coasts Division.
I decided to apply for the 2009 Graduate Program as an internal applicant after seeing the position advertised on the intranet. I believe the opportunity to participate in the 2009 Graduate Program has enabled me to build on my skills and has provided me with a greater understanding of the roles and responsibilities of other divisions within the Department, leading to a better understanding of the Department as a whole.
EIA Policy Section, Business Systems and Governance Brach, Approvals and Wildlife Division
EIA Policy Section is responsible for:
- Providing the Business Entry Point for the receipt and validation of referrals under the EPBC Act;
- Supporting performance improvement in the Environment Assessment Branches including business systems, working protocols and training; and
- Developing new tools to support best practice Environmental Impact Assessment including policy positions, guidelines and other decision-making tools.
During my time with the section I assisted in the operation of the Business Entry Point receiving and validating referrals under the EPBC Act including mapping the projects, preparing correspondence to Commonwealth and state Ministers and liaising with proponents and members of the public on the environment assessment processes under the Act. I also had the opportunity to develop a Draft Guide for Writing Approval Conditions.
This rotation provided me with an opportunity to learn about the EPBC Act, a major piece of governing legislation for the Department.
Heritage Stimulus Projects Section, Historic Heritage Branch, Heritage Division
The Heritage Stimulus Projects Section is a new section which is primarily focused on delivering $60m of heritage grants under the Government's economic stimulus package during 2009-10. The section also manages other heritage grants programs.
As part of this rotation I was involved in the assessment, management and evaluation of applications for heritage grants, as well as reviewing and making recommendations on the Commemoration of Historic Events and Famous Persons (CHEFP) Program.
Coral Triangle Initiative Taskforce, Tropical Marine Conservation Branch, Marine Division
The Coral triangle Initiative Taskforce is responsible for the Marine Division's engagement in strategic regional and bilateral fora focused on the conservation and management of marine biodiversity and resource issues, including the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ocean-related issues, Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA), bilateral engagement with Indonesia, etc.
This placement exposed me to a wide range of international issues and Australia's marine environment commitments. I had the experience of coordinating an interdepartmental committee for regional engagement attended by Department of Climate Change (DCC); Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF); Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR); Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C); CSIRO, Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS); and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). I also had the opportunity to work closely with NGOs, such as Conservation International.
This position was based in Hobart, which gave me the opportunity to experience working for the Department from a remote location.
Strategic Policy and Governance Section (formerly EIA Policy Section), Business Systems and Governance Branch, Approvals and Wildlife Division
The Strategic Policy and Governance Section works on projects aimed at improving divisional performance and governance through coordinated and consistent approaches to the implementation of the EPBC Act. This includes:
- improved performance reporting, such as through the Annual Report;
- development of coherent, integrated policy for better environmental outcomes, such as work on environmental offsets and condition setting;
- improving design and development of divisional business systems; and
- improving the capacity of divisional staff.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'