Angela - 2010 Graduate Program



Home State:South Australia
University: Flinders University of South Australia
Qualifications: Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology)
Bachelor of Innovation and Enterprise (Science and Technology)
Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice - current

I chose to combine my science degree with a law degree because I could see the benefit in not only having technical scientific knowledge, but also an ability to work with legislative instruments. I also recognised that environmental issues were becoming an increasing priority in the political sphere. I knew that pursuing these courses would provide a wide variety of exciting opportunities, particularly in environmental policy formulation and advice. Additionally, I undertook the Bachelor of Innovation and Enterprise because it equips science students with project management, marketing management and other valuable business skills. While at university I was proactive in seeking a number of practical experiences to complement my academic pursuits, including Research Assistant roles in the scientific and legal sectors and a Policy Support Officer role for the South Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The department's graduate program represented an opportunity for me to continue to promote and support ecologically sustainable development by contributing to policies and projects at a national level. Working for the Department has now placed me at the cutting edge of an increasingly important portfolio and I am part of an organisation that achieves visible, valuable and meaningful results for the environment and its stakeholders.


First Placement: Legal Section, Strategic Advice Branch, Policy Coordination Division

The Policy Coordination Division is a central division within the department. Beginning here, I gained a valuable working knowledge of the Department's activities across the portfolio. This put me in good stead for the remainder of my graduate year. I was involved in a range of work being undertaken within the Section and provided assistance to both teams.

My primary responsibilities included:

  • Conducting legal research
  • Providing general legal advice to several diverse policy and program areas
  • Drafting advice on contracts and agreements, including preparing and/or reviewing documents for line areas
  • Drafting Deeds
  • Statutory interpretation

Second Placement: Urban Water Policy Section, Urban Water Security Branch, Water Governance Division

The Urban Water Policy team has responsibility for developing and implementing, in consultation with stakeholders, national urban water policy reforms as agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

My primary responsibilities in this section included:

  • Producing a discussion paper, examining the barriers to third party access to water infrastructure and the costs and benefits of establishing a nationally consistent regime
  • Assisting with other COAG urban water reform action items, such as consumer protection arrangements and examining the case for micro-economic reform in the urban water sector
  • Attending meetings with division heads and the senior executive
  • Preparing replies to Ministerial and other correspondence, briefs, Committee agenda papers, co-ordinated requests and attending stakeholder meetings.

Third Placement: Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act Review Implementation Taskforce, Strategic Policy Section, Approvals and Wildlife Division

This placement represented a wonderfully unique opportunity to participate in the review of the EPBC Act 1999, the Australian Government's central piece of environmental legislation.

My primary responsibilities included:

  • Contributing to the finalisation of the whole-of-government response to 71 primary recommendations of the Hawke Report
  • Attending ongoing bilateral discussions with other agencies in the lead up to Cabinet consideration of the reform package
  • Undertaking preparatory work to help progress the implementation of reforms potentially arising from the government response to the EPBC Act Review
  • Preparing ministerial correspondence, including inputting into ministerial briefs, Question Time Briefs, senate estimate briefings and coordination requests.

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