Tim - 2010 Graduate Program
Home State: South Australia
University: Flinders University
Qualifications: Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology (Honours)
Bachelor of Innovation and Enterprise (Science and Technology)
Although I'm originally from South Australia and completed my undergraduate degree in Adelaide, I grew up in country Victoria and country New South Wales. It wasn't until a Marine Studies excursion in high school to Jervis Bay that I realised I wanted a career related to marine onservation. I have had a number of study, research and work experiences in marine-related fields both in Australia and overseas, including studying on student exchange in Miami, United States of America (USA), researching and working in marine tourism in the Pacific Northwest (USA/Canada), and researching spinner dolphins in remote Fiji for my Honours degree. Having a primarily practical background I wanted to learn how Government worked and how science is used to influence policy, plans and programs in environmental conservation. The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Graduate Program appeared it would provide a great opportunity for me to do this and gain essential experience in order for me to fulfil my career objectives.
First Placement: Cetacean Policy and Management Section, Marine Division
Given my cetacean background, I was extremely pleased to be placed in this Section for my first rotation. My primary responsibility was to organise a workshop on tropical inshore dolphins, where scientific experts and State Government and non-government organisations got together to develop a conservation strategy for Australia's tropical inshore dolphin species. This work involved writing a discussion paper, stakeholder communication and liaison, organising logistics, the running and participating in the workshop in Townsville, and writing up of the workshop findings.
Second Placement: Ports and Marine Section, Approvals and Wildlife Division
I applied for this rotation because I wanted to gain experience in understanding the environmental assessment process. The Ports and Marine Section is responsible for assessing actions that relate to port development and oil/gas activities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). I was involved in the assessment process associated with the large-scale Port of Gladstone Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project. A highlight was the opportunity to participate in a site visit to Gladstone (Queensland) which included a helicopter flight over the proposed development area. This rotation was extremely valuable in developing stakeholder communication skills and better understanding of the regulatory processes within the Department.
Third Placement: Booderee National Park, Parks Australia Division
I was extremely fortunate to be placed in an external rotation in Jervis Bay Territory, where my primary responsibility was to collaborate with Jervis Bay Marine Park (New South Wales Government) on a marine monitoring programme, and create the foundations for continued collaborations into the future between the two Government departments. I was able to gain real 'on ground' experience and understand and appreciate the responsibilities of working within a National Park. Mixing operational and policy work in a Park setting certainly made me realise other career opportunities that are available within the Department.
Final Placement: Cetacean Conservation Management Section, Marine Division
I have been successful in securing a position back within the National Cetacean Team where I was placed for my first rotation. Given my background and passion for cetacean conservation, I'm extremely pleased to be back here. I look forward to working on national cetacean conservation issues throughout the year, making a difference, and taking advantage of the opportunities that may arise from this.
For someone that came from a primarily practical background, the Graduate year within the Department has been an amazing opportunity and I believe I have developed a great deal professionally. Although I know I ultimately want to purse a career that has a practical/operational component, there are certainly opportunities within the Department to do this.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'