Dominic - 2010 Graduate Program

Dominic
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Background

Home State: Victoria
University: Monash University
Qualifications: Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Arts (Chinese Language - Honours)

During my tertiary studies I had the opportunity to study and travel extensively throughout China and complete an internship with a human rights Non-Government Organisation in Hong Kong. Along with my tertiary studies these experiences developed in me a keen sense of environmental issues globally, which I was able to further pursue by undertaking my honours thesis examining cross-border air pollution in southern China.

Having finished university in 2008 I got my first taste of the APS when I completed a clerkship with the Attorney-General's Department in the summer of 2008-09. I then took up a position in DSEWPaC as a policy officer in the Water Group, primarily working on the legal policy issues surrounding water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin. During the Graduate Program, I had the opportunity to work across a truly diverse range of areas demonstrating the breadth of work undertaken by the Department. I have worked on issues as diverse as developing Australia's position on establishing a new international body on biodiversity, to administering an aid program in Papua New Guinea, and conducting environmental assessments of uranium mining across Australia.

Placements

First Rotation: International Section, Policy Coordination Division

The International Section develops and coordinates the Department's whole-of-portfolio international policy, as well as leading and contributing to a number of issues of foreign policy across the Australian Government in both bilateral and multilateral fora. During my rotation I had the opportunity to contribute to developing briefing for the Australian Delegation attending a meeting that would consider whether or not to establish an International Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. One of the most challenging and exciting aspects of this task was to work with colleagues not only from across the Department, but from across government as well. Regular section work included coordinating Departmental input and attending meetings on a range of issues for Australia's bilateral and multilateral relationships, cable writing and distribution, as well as writing ministerial briefs and other correspondence.

Second Rotation: International Projects Section, Heritage Division

The International Projects Section works with countries in the region to protect and promote their cultural and natural heritage through sharing Australian knowledge and skills. They primarily work on assisting Papua New Guinea to maintain the heritage values of the Kokoda Track through capacity building programs for communities along the track. The main focus of my rotation was to support the operation of the Kokoda Track Authority and develop content for a website to improve aid delivery. Regular section work included writing cables, ministerial correspondence and attending both interdepartmental and various DSEWPaC meetings.

Third Rotation: Mining Section, Environmental Assessments Branch, Approvals and Wildlife Division

This section has responsibility for the regulatory assessment of mining proposals under the Environmental Protection and Conservation Act 1999. My work involved assessing uranium mine proposals against the criteria in the Act. I also had the opportunity to engage with a range of stakeholders, including both large and small mining companies, and our counterparts in State and Territory governments. The work was both busy and exciting, as we are often working to tight statutory deadlines prescribed.

Final Placement: Strategic Review Team, Water Reform Division

This team has responsibility for a range of strategic issues and tasks which cross-cut the Water Group. We are currently working on a statutory review of the National Water Commission, and various water briefings for Australia's participation in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Our tasks necessarily involve close engagement across the Water Group, and with the Department's senior executive. This has made the work both challenging and exciting.

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