Blue Mountains, New South Wales
University of Sydney, then Australian National University
Bachelor of Arts/Laws(hons)
Majors: Political Science, English
Other areas of study: History, Health Law, Astronomy, Public Law
During those now distant University days I was President of a college, student politician, actor, debater and - very occasionally - student.
DEWHA has not been my first experience of life in the Public Service as I had two short stints at AFMA in 2006 and 2007. In 2008 while working on my honours thesis (nanotechnology and new medicines) I worked as a research associate at ANU (highlight: giving oral evidence before a Senate Committee) and as an Industrial Advocate for the Australian Nursing Federation.
Sustainable Fisheries, Marine Division
During my time in Sustainable Fisheries (or Sus Fish to those in the know) I was involved in assessing the sustainability of a fishery to determine whether it should be granted export approval. I also took part in implementing changes to Australia's fisheries brought about by the listing of certain shark species on the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species.
The rotation involved applying the provisions of the EPBC Act, and the requirements of Australia's guidelines on ecologically sustainable fisheries, to a particular fishery. As a final product I produced a report on the fishery and submitted a brief to the Assistant Secretary.
Compliance and Enforcement Branch, Approvals and Wildlife Division
I expected to be an enforcer in this role, the new sheriff in town, bringing to heel all those rouge operators out there in the wilds of Australia. But it was not so, and that's not a bad thing. The work of the Compliance Branch is to prevent situations emerging where the big guns of enforcement are required. It is more education than smack down. The branch considers whether a proposed action would significantly impact upon a matter of national environmental significance (or NES for acronym lovers). Actions can be as diverse as roadside clearing, building a new housing complex, or even just cutting down some trees and shrubs in the backyard. Because of the range of potential activities (and the broad spectrum of people calling potential breaches) each day brings new challenges and new work.
Of course, this not being an ideal world, sometimes breaches of the EPBC Act occur and it is the role of the Compliance Branch to conduct preliminary investigations into the matters to determine whether they are serious enough for prosecution.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'