University of Melbourne
Bachelor of Arts (Hons)
With a degree in history and politics, a background working in the Arts and Community sector and hobbies including snorkelling and bushwalking the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts seemed like a very logical fit for me!
I have come to the Dept after 15 years working in the Community Sector in roles ranging from Community Development Coordinator of a capacity building project in the outer Melbourne suburb of Doveton, a youth worker working with potential early school leavers at secondary schools in Melbourne's south-east, working overseas in Sri Lanka training career guidance officers and adapting Australian methods of career guidance to the needs of Sri Lanka and working as Project Supervisor for a theatre group.
Having worked on Government funded projects within the Community Sector I joined the department keen to see how government works from within and to apply my community development skills to a department which encompasses all the things I am passionate about.
My first rotation was with the Environmental Watering Policy Section (which has recently been part of a restructure and is now the Aquatic Ecosystems Policy Section). The objectives of this section are to provide advice and develop national policy to best protect and provide water for Australia's high conservation value aquatic ecosystems and assets across Australia and report on their health, including the Snowy River, northern Australia and through the Living Murray Initiative.
My work with the Section included:
- Liaising with all sections of the Environmental Water and Natural Resources Branch (now the Aquatic Systems Branch) to collate the Branch's input into the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
- Working with key team members to support the development of a National Framework for High Conservation Value Aquatic Ecosystems (HCVAE). This framework will provide a practical, scientifically robust tool to assist jurisdictions to meet their National Water Initiative commitments by enabling a nationally consistent approach to the identification and classification of HCVAE.
- Research relating to Ramsar sites along the River Murray.
- Writing Ministerials and other correspondence.
This placement provided me with an excellent and very thorough overview of issues relating to water and work being done by the Dept in a range of areas.
My second rotation was in the Indigenous Heritage East Section where I was working on developing the guidelines for the Assessment of Places for the National Heritage List into a shorter, plain English document to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to understand how places are assessed for inclusion in the NHL.
I also assisted the team in assessing the Indigenous heritage values of the Wet Tropics for National Heritage Listing. This work involved researching the fire burning practices of Indigenous Communities in the Wet Tropics and comparable areas which I found particularly interesting at the time and even more so when I moved to the top end and saw traditional burning methods being practiced there.
In my third rotation I was fortunate enough to move to Kakadu National Park and spend 3 months there working in the Training Unit.
My work involved coordinating the development of a cross cultural awareness training package for Kakadu staff and working with the local school to produce short film material to be used as a part of the cross cultural training package.
The training package included sessions on communication across cultures, local language, Indigenous history, bininj and balanda kinship and joint management. There was a focus on interactive activities such as a family tree/kinship workshop, art, craft, discussion and cooking with the activities and training enabling people to come together and learn in a relaxed, non-threatening, mainly non-classroom environment.
Every Tuesday afternoon of my rotation was spent working with middle school students to create short films that depicted real life scenarios demonstrating cross cultural issues. Sam Deegan imparted her extensive film knowledge to help me write, film and edit these films and they were shown as part of the training and helped to highlight these issues and initiate discussion about them.
The training was held in the last week of my rotation and this new approach to training will now be continued by the Park in the future.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'