Darren

2003 Graduate

Darren

After completing the graduate program in December 2003, I returned, as a Senior Project Officer, to the Approvals and Audit Section in the Approvals and Wildlife Division where I had completed one of my graduate rotations. In this position, I was responsible for managing the approval of actions referred under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The EPBC Act provides for the protection of the environment, promotes ecologically sustainable development, promotes the conservation of biodiversity, and provides for the protection and conservation of Australia's heritage.

I have worked on a broad range of projects across a number of industry sectors including offshore oil and gas projects, iron ore and coal mines, tourism developments, aquaculture projects, and water infrastructure developments. These projects have focussed on the protection and conservation of threatened species (such as Swift Parrots, Southern Right Whales, Spotted-tailed Quolls, and Growling Grass Frogs), World Heritage Areas including the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics, and Ramsar wetlands of international importance. My work often involves site visits and my adventures have included scampering over boulder-strewn hills in the WA outback, flying in small aircraft over the central QLD coast, and snorkelling in the Whitsundays (yes, that really was work!).

I am still employed in the Approvals and Wildlife Division but as an Assistant Director in the Science and Natural Resources Section. I still have responsibility for the assessment and approval of projects under the EPBC Act but my work is now focussed predominantly on water infrastructure, agriculture and forestry. I have some involvement in the regulation of live animal imports into Australia. My current position also involves a range of policy work that covers areas such as environmental offsets, the placement of artificial reefs in the marine environment, and legislative amendments to the EPBC Act. The Department Graduate Program has given me great exposure to a range of different work opportunities, including those in areas where I had no prior knowledge or experience. The three rotations allowed me to gain a broad knowledge of the different functions of the Department, develop a range of new skills and form a great network of contacts, both within and outside of the Department. Looking back, the Graduate program was integral to the development of my career and the opportunities and experiences that being a Grad provided have proven to be invaluable.

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