Sarah

2001 Graduate

Sarah

Travelling the world for five years, particularly in developing nations, alerted me to the scale of environmental problems facing the whole planet. When I was backpacking for a year through Africa I decided that I wanted practical skills so that I could be a part of finding and implementing solutions to these problems. I returned to Australia and spent four years at Griffith University studying Environmental Engineering. In 2001, straight after my degree, I joined the Department Graduate Program.

During my graduate year with the Department I had three work placements doing tasks ranging from assisting with the development of new heritage legislation to attending a Board meeting beside a waterfall in Kakadu National Park.

Following my graduate year I moved to Hobart, Tasmania for an 18-month secondment with the Southern Ocean Conservation Unit at the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). I worked primarily on Southern Ocean policy issues including Australia's involvement in Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources(CCAMLR) and developing measures to combat the illegal fishing of Patagonian toothfish. At the AAD I prepared briefings for, and attended, two international CCAMLR meetings and coordinated Australia's primary initiative in 2003, a centralised vessel monitoring system.

Being at the AAD provided me with a wonderful chance to work in a completely different environment surrounded by scientists, technicians, Antarctic operations staff and the seasonal Antarctic expeditioners. In fact my life was 'Antarctic' focused both at and after work, as the Antarctic community is a small one in Tasmania. My introduction to life in Hobart started with a Bottom Of The Earth Society (BOTES) quiz night and it became a regular occurrence over the summer months to both farewell and welcome the icebreakers carrying my AAD expeditioner friends to and from 'the South'.

I had the opportunity to stay on at the AAD but decided Canberra was the place to be for my career and I currently work as a policy officer with the Ozone and Synthetic Gas Team in the Environment Standards Branch. I primarily work on coordinating the development of regulations under the amended Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 and aspects of Australia's involvement under the Montreal Protocol.

Working for the Department is a satisfying and interesting career and I feel privileged to have a job that involves finding and implementing solutions to the various pressures facing our natural and cultural environment.

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