Melinda - 2010 Graduate Program

Melinda

Background

Home State: Victoria
University: University of Melbourne
La Trobe University, Bundoora Campus
Qualifications: Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology, Conservation and Australian Wildlife Honours (Zoology)

From an early age I was always interested in wildlife and the environment. I think my parents were surprised when at the end of primary school I declared that I wanted to become a Zoologist and followed this through to a university degree. After my degree, I undertook my honours year at La Trobe University working in conjunction with the Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment. My honours project focused on the artificial refuge use and habitat requirements for the threatened Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar) as part of the national recovery plan - yes a lizard with no legs!

When my partner moved up to Canberra as part of another Department's graduate program, I decided to move up too. A year later I was lucky enough to secure a job with the Department in the Exotic Species Regulation Section, Approvals and Wildlife Division working on live import assessments and the regulation of exotic birds and ornamental fish. As far as I was concerned, a dream job with a great Department where I could actually make a difference on the broad scale. After two years in my role, I noticed the internal graduate program and although I loved my job, decided that the Department had so many different areas and experiences to offer - so naturally I jumped at this fantastic opportunity.

Placements

First Placement: Environmental Biosecurity Section, Marine Division

My first rotation was with the Environmental Biosecurity Section in the Marine Division. My role within this team involved preparing a strategic and technical response to the first ever Senate disallowance of a Threat Abatement Plan (TAP). This was an exciting project as it was a new direction for the department. My work involved:

  • The development of options for the TAP subsequent to its disallowance including recommendations to the Minister
  • A literature review of scientific research of the plant pathogen post 2006
  • A review of state abatement plans
  • Possible methods to abate the threat

Second Placement: Scientific Research and Information Section, Policy Coordination Division

My second rotation was with the Scientific Research and Information Section (Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) / National Environmental Research Program (NERP)) in the Policy Coordination Division. My rotation with this team was very busy and I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work on a wide range of tasks including:

  • Drafting briefs to the Minister
  • Secretariat support for high level departmental advisory committees and Ministerially appointed Advisory Panels
  • Assisting with the CERF conference, particularly the Indigenous Events Program
  • Eligibility checks for funding proposals
  • Liaising with world-class Australian environmental research scientists

Third Placement: Workforce Development Section, Corporate Strategies Division

My third rotation was with the Workforce Development Section in the Corporate Strategies Division. In this section, I worked in a small team with the Indigenous Employment Coordinator on the Indigenous Employment and Capability Strategy. My main task was to develop and implement a project plan for the 2011 Indigenous Employees' Conference. I was also privileged to be able to work on draft guidelines for the Kevin McLeod Development Award.

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