Alicia - 2012 Graduate Program

Home state

  • New South Wales

Universities

  • The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Social Science (Environment)

Background

After High School I travelled around Australia from the south east coast around the top and down to Perth. From there I went straight into a law firm on Fleet St, London—as a catering attendant. I also worked in Edinburgh, Dublin and Galway and travelled to Africa, North and South America and continental Europe. I had some really great jobs overseas including working for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Society in program production and performer liaison. I knew I wanted to work in the environmental field so I came home to study Environmental Social Science at RMIT and applied for the department's graduate program.

Placements

First Placement—Suburban Jobs (now Urban Sustainability and Communities Section), Sustainability Policies and Analysis Division

Suburban Jobs is a grants program announced in 2011 as a measure under the Sustainable Australia - Sustainable Communities Strategy. The aim is to help local and state governments to use the National Broadband Network to ‘take the jobs to the people’ reducing the environmental, economic and social impacts of long commutes to work.

I started with the team just as the grant applications arrived which made for a really busy rotation and a lot of opportunity to learn. I gained experience and understanding in probity, grant guidelines, project scheduling and the objectives of our department's population policy. I also got to work with people from different sections, departments, levels of government as well as consultants. As this was my first rotation this is where I learnt the most about working for the department and the unique lexicon of the public service.

Second Placement—Western Australia and South Australia Environmental Assessment Branch (now South West branch (WA)), Environmental Assessments and Compliance Division

The Environment Assessment Branch is responsible for managing the referral and assessment process under the department's key piece of legislation the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to ensure ecologically sustainable development and the best possible environmental outcomes.

I worked as an assessment officer in the section responsible for Western Australian and South Australian referrals. I worked on a variety of referrals including ones for residential and industrial developments as well as an approval to research in a world heritage area. This rotation was fantastic for learning more about Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES), the EPBC Act and engaging with stakeholders. I also drafted ministerial briefings, responded to co-ordination tasks, and led team meetings.

Third Placement—Natural and Cultural Programs, Kakadu National Park, Parks Australia

Kakadu National Park is proclaimed under the EPBC Act and through a joint management arrangement is managed between Aboriginal traditional owners and the Director of National Parks. This is outlined in the park's main policy document the Kakadu National Park Management Plan.

During my rotation I worked on the development of the 6th Kakadu Management plan which will be in place from 2014 - 2024. My work was primarily focused on the country section of the plan which included community and staff consultations. I selected and adapted the facilitation method for the consultations in which we worked on 5 topics: native plants and animals; fire; feral and domestic animals; weeds; and coastal management. I also collaborated on presentations to the Kakadu Board of Management. The people and the country at Kakadu are beyond my words. It is an absolutely incredible place and very meaningful work.

Final Placement—Regional Sustainability Policy A, Environmental Assessment and Compliance Division

My final placement is with the Regional Sustainability Planning section in the Strategic Approaches Branch. We will be delivering the Sustainable Regional Development program in the Upper Spencer Gulf, South Australia.