2008 Graduate Program


Degree: Bachelor of Archaeology (hons)


The path that brought me to the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts was a lot less deliberate than many people, with my life taking many twists and turns since completing my year 12 in Melbourne in 1999. After years in the (metaphoric) wilderness, I learnt that I could actually fulfil my childhood dream of being Indiana Jones by studying a Bachelor of Archaeology. This love for playing in the dirt evolved into an interest in human evolution—with my sub-thesis dealing with the evolutionary implications of right-handedness—and subsequently an interest in Australian Indigenous archaeology. I worked on pre-historical, classical and historical excavations/projects in Victoria, South Australia and Israel before deciding that I wanted to make a difference in the field of heritage on a broader level and applying for the DEWHA graduate program in 2007. Whilst I initially applied for the Department with the intention of dealing with indigenous heritage matters, I found that the many opportunities the department presents are varied and incredibly interesting.

Since completing the graduate program in 2008, I have experienced an amazing variety of roles and responsiblities across SEWPaC (formerly DEWHA), as well as across other Commonwealth portfolios. My immediate role out of the graduate program was within the People Management Branch, seeing through the negotiation of the department's Enterprise Agreement, after which I was offered a position in a team that was designing and implementing a $100 million energy efficiency program. Designing and implementing Commonwealth programs provide perhaps the widest range of experiences in the public service, as it involves large amounts of policy design, stakeholder and community engagement, research, program management and interaction with Ministers and Cabinet. I followed this role across three departments (including the Departments of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency; and Resources, Energy and Tourism) but decided to return to the environment portfolio in mid 2011 to become an Assistant Director for one of the programs borne out of the recent sustainable population strategy (Sustainable Australia – Sustainable Communties: a sustainable population strategy for Australia). Involvement in this most recent program has allowed me to take more of a leadership role in program design and implementation, as well as being exposed to an entirely new area of government policy.