Lauren - 2011 Graduate Program


  • The University of Sydney


  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours)


I grew up in Toowoomba and Newcastle, but also lived in Dublin and London. I returned to Australia for university, where the focus of my studies was public administration, politics and policy development, particularly environmental policy.

I wrote my honours thesis on the role of government in promoting solar power industry growth in the United States and Germany. This was a topic which allowed me to analyze comparative models of environmental policy and public administration, and speak directly to stakeholders affected.

I joined the department to pursue my academic interests in policy development, politics and public administration and my personal commitment to promoting environmental sustainability. The graduate program has been exceptionally valuable in helping me to develop a range of core public service skills, a productive network of contacts and a broader understanding of the issues underlying the department's strategic outcomes.


First Placement: National Urban Water and Desalination Plan Section , Water Governance Division

This section is responsible for delivering the $854.2 million National Urban Water and Desalination Plan (NUWDP) under the Water for the Future Initiative. The primary function of the section is to manage desalination, water recycling and stormwater harvesting infrastructure projects. My primary roles were to:

  1. Assist in project management. This included grants management, funding agreement negotiation and contract management, amongst other tasks.
  2. Write the NUWDP 'Monitoring, Evaluation, Review and Improve' Plan.
  3. Prepare briefs, minco, QTBs, talking points and event briefings.

Second Placement: Conservation Incentives and Design Section, Lands and Coast Division

This section is responsible for providing strategic research, analysis and advice on the use of landscape design and investment prioritisation. The central function of the section at present is to develop and deliver the National Wildlife Corridors Plan (NWCP), an Australian Government election commitment to address habitat fragmentation through improving ecological connectivity. My primary roles were to:

  • Assist in writing the NWCP
  • Write a review of departmental actions on connectivity, including running an internal coord on the topic
  • Research and write an analysis of potential policy tools for the implementation of the NWCP
  • Stakeholder management, including organising a workshop and providing secretariat support for the NWCP Advisory Group

Third and Final Placement: EPBC Act Review Taskforce, Heritage and Wildlife Division

This section is responsible for the preparation of the Australian Government's response to the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and drafting the associated legislative reform package and costings. My primary roles were to:

  • Assist in developing costings for the reform package, including the consultation process
  • Assist in writing the cabinet submission related to cost recovery
  • Contribute to other regulatory review processes e.g. Montara Inquiry

And beyond: - Strategic Policy Section, Policy and Communications Division

During my third rotation, I applied for a position with the Strategic Policy section. This section is responsible for a number of matters, including developing long-term policies for the department (for example: a twenty year plan for addressing biodiversity threats).

My work in this section includes developing policy, managing various projects, commenting on cabinet submissions and supporting the Senior Executive.

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