Claudia - 2012 Graduate Program

Home state

  • Australian Capital Territory


  • The Australian National University
  • The University of Bologna, Italy


  • Bachelor of Science (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Arts


My background is in water resource management, with a focus on how communities and governments can work together to solve environmental problems. The department was a natural fit for my skills, and provided an opportunity to gain experience in new areas as well. I applied for the Graduate Program because I was especially interested in working in the department's Marine and Antarctic Divisions, having always wanted to be a marine biologist when I was growing up.


First Placement—Urban Water Policy section, Water Group

The Urban Water Policy section manages policy relating to water provision by utilities in cities and towns. During my placement in the section, I was able to gain first-hand experience of COAG processes, undertake secretariat work and extend my knowledge of our urban water system through researching the regulatory arrangements for water management in the States and Territories. My work contributed to formulating the ongoing COAG urban water work program.

Second Placement—Approvals Monitoring- Coal Seam Gas, Environment Assessment and Compliance Division (EACD)

My placement with the CSG team allowed me to experience a diversity of high-profile work in a busy work environment. During my time in the team, I was involved in assessing and approving management plans for major CSG projects in Queensland. I was also able to assist in providing secretariat support to the Expert Panel for Major Coal Seam Gas Projects, which included travelling to Brisbane for a Panel meeting, and liaising regularly with both internal and external stakeholders such as proponents and Geoscience Australia. I was particularly involved in assessing management plans relating to water quality impacts, which allowed me to use my training in water resource management.

Third Placement—International Cetacean Policy section, Policy and Communications Division

My third placement, in the International Cetacean Policy section, gave me exposure to international work, including briefing and other preparation for meetings with NGOs and international representatives and working on one of Australia's most sensitive and high-profile international issues: whaling in the Southern Ocean. I also had the opportunity to take ownership of drafting the department's Pacific Strategy- this document will guide the work of the department and other government agencies in the Pacific region over the next five yearsI also got involved in co-ordinating the section's International work is very different from domestic policy work, and I highly recommend trying a mix of these during the Grad year.

Final Placement—Species Conservation Section, Marine Division

My role in the Species Conservation Section includes drafting species recovery plans for sharks and sea lions. I also provide advice on the potential impacts of major development projects on marine species. These projects range from seismic surveys to port developments and gas pipelines. A third aspect of my job involves managing Australia's international obligations under the Convention on Migratory Species and Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CMS). These important conventions are helping to protect Australian marine species from extinction. In my final placement, I work with a range of stakeholders, including scientists and former colleagues in EACD and PCD.

Living in Canberra and with a background in water management, I'm more used to rivers than oceans. I joined the department with the aim of trying Marine Division out and am very glad to have made my way here for final placement. Having always had a passion for conservation and an interest in the Marine environment, I am lucky to have found a final placement in a rewarding and challenging area where my work is making a direct contribution to creating healthier marine environments.