Stuart - 2010 Graduate Program

Stuart

Background

Home State: New South Wales (NSW)
University: University of Wollongong
Qualifications: Bachelor of Science in Geoscience

Growing up in southern Sydney at the foot of the Royal National Park provided me with a lot of opportunities to interact with the natural environment. These interactions were pivotal in my future decisions to study in the fields of horticulture and environmental management.

I ran a successful horticultural business with my wife for eight years prior to working with Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA, now Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) but due to an injury I had to rethink my career. I started my science degree in 2006 and was offered a position in DEWHA in 2008 as an Indigenous cadet that saw me employed by the department in the Indigenous Policy Branch until the completion of my degree. I completed my degree and cadetship at the start of 2010 before being accepted into the 2010 DEWHA Graduate program and relocating with my family to Bungendore.

Placements

First Placement: Indigenous Governance and Strategies (IGSS), Land and Coasts Division

My first placement as a graduate was in the same section that I had completed my cadetship. I found this beneficial as I already knew the staff and was familiar with the work that was undertaken by the section.

The work I was responsible for in the IGSS predominately consisted of the development of a project plan to guide the consolidation of one of our key programs, this included working on a brief to Minister Garrett. I was also working on an application for the Prime Minister's award for excellence in public service.

During this placement I was also able to attend a remote area field trip to the Martu Working on Country program. This was a valuable experience as I was able to see in a practical way how important the departments work is to Indigenous communities on country.

Second Placement: Compliance and Enforcement Branch (CEB), Approvals and Wildlife Division

I stepped out of my comfort zone with my second rotation in the Compliance and Enforcement section. I gained a lot from this rotation mainly how to engage members of the public and other external stakeholders in a manner that is consistent with the APS code of conduct and values, as well as just how important the Environmental Protection, Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is to our everyday work within many areas of the department. Being exposed to the level of work that I was helped me greatly in understanding how the EPBC Act is successfully administered.

During my time at CEB I was able to attend a site inspection on the Burrup Peninsular that was directly related to a remediation determination report I was assessing. We also visited Broome during the same trip to identify any possible compliance issues and to give an EPBC Act information presentation to the Broome council.

Third Placement: Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research (CANBR), Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG), Parks Australia Division

For my final rotation I have been located at CANBR on the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Black Mt site. My task here is to develop a two pronged project that engages Indigenous Australians with the everyday work of CANBR and ANBG through programs such as traineeships, cadetships or PhD engagement. The second aim is to record Traditional Indigenous plant names and uses against our nationally recognized plant names before this information is lost for ever.

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