Morgan - 2011 Graduate Program


  • University of Canberra


  • Bachelor of Communications in Advertising and Marketing


I graduated from the University of Canberra in 2008 and began my career in a small private Public Relations consultancy. During the nine months I was there, I was given a great insight into small time PR and a good sense of time management including the concept of 'time is money'.

However I wanted to be in a place that had a wider reach and so I made the move to the department in November 2008, joining the Water Public Affairs team as a junior officer. Here I learnt the ins and outs of political workings, the needs and whims of the Minister's Office, and was provided the opportunity to continually enhance my communication skills. After almost two years in Public Affairs, I decided I needed a change of scenery and a different skills set, so I transferred across to a Water Group program area.

My time in the program was again well spent, learning about project management, contract management and water conveyancing. I enjoyed the fast paced and goal orientated work as well as dealing with both internal and external stakeholders.

My time in the program was again well spent, learning about project management, contract management and water conveyancing. I enjoyed the fast paced and goal orientated work as well as dealing with both internal and external stakeholders.


First Placement: Sustainable Population Taskforce, Policy Coordination Division

The Sustainable Population Taskforce was responsible for coordinating and drafting the first Sustainable Population Strategy for Australia. To complement the strategy and its key messages of a sustainable Australia - sustainable communities, the Taskforce drafted a number of new policy proposals that would help to achieve economic, environmental and social outcomes.

My role was to help the team draft components of the strategy, which were then used as foundations for the Sustainable Population Strategy. This required research of other government initiatives and incentives to see where the gaps in policy were, as well as looking internationally to see what other countries were doing about population and sustainability. I also had the opportunity to aid in the drafting of several new policy proposals. It was fascinating to see how new policy is developed and the high level discussions and research that took place to shape the policies that came out of the strategy. Observing the Cabinet process was also an invaluable experience and I gained a real appreciation as to how much time and effort the process itself takes.

Second Placement: Water Group Operational Support Unit Human Resources, Water Efficiency Division

The Water Group HR OSU deals in the daily runnings of the Water Group, some 300 staff strong. The OSU is the service centre for the Water Group and is responsible for accommodation arrangements, learning and development, recruitment and performance management among other services.

I had the opportunity to examine the inner workings of the Water Group by analyzing staff exit survey data to determine the common themes of concern. I subsequently produced a report on divisional staff retention that looked at what aspects of management needed to be revised within each division. During my time here I also had numerous opportunities to attend high level meetings, contribute to internal briefings and gather feedback from high level staff regarding the OSU and its work.

Third Placement: Cetacean Conservation Management Section, Marine Division

The Cetacean Conservation Management Section (CCMS) is concerned with the conservation of whales and dolphins and in particular, those that are listed under the EPBC Act. Some of the activities the team carries out are the production of recovery plans for Australia's endangered and vulnerable whales, adoption and promotion of best practice and responsible whale watching within Australian waters, and management of the response to the Japanese whaling season.

During my time here I successfully coordinated Australia's participation at an international conference for marine mammal protected areas, attended by the Marine Initiatives Branch Assistant Secretary. This included liaising with international stakeholders; drafting key talking points for the Minister's pre-recorded video; drafting a speech for the Assistant Secretary, and; coordinating and executing the production of banners, booklets and promotional material. I also wrote and designed a high level factsheet on Australia's commitment to marine conservation for an international audience and developed a comprehensive briefing pack for the Australian delegates.

I can honestly say that I have enjoyed each one of my placements and feel that they have broadened my skills, from improved writing and working under pressure, to stakeholder management, policy development, data analysis and time management. The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities is a great place to work and I would recommend it to anyone.

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