Environmental Policy Officer Sally Greve

Back to Careers in Geography

Sally Greve was keen on Geography all through school, so it was natural to include it in her Arts degree. 'I combined it with Ancient History and Languages, but I had no real idea of a job I wanted to do'.

In her degree, Sally became interested in two main areas: development (Third World) and environmental issues. 'By the time I had completed a fourth year (Honours), I had quite a feel for issues associated with environmental considerations, especially the human impact/social aspects. However, my scientific skills and knowledge were not strong, and this would colour my future employment prospects'.

In the early 1990s, Sally enrolled in a Masters in Environment and Public Policy. Then she deferred and spent an interesting eight months as a host at the Australian Pavilion at World Expo in Seville (Spain). On her return, Sally completed the Masters course. This focused on international and local law, land use planning and impact assessment methodologies. 'I felt well-armed, with a good knowledge of legislative processes and policy making: I was ready to begin my career in the field of environmental policy', said Sally.

Sally began work as a Graduate Officer with Melbourne Water, Environmental Management Section. A further opportunity came her way within twelve months when she successfully applied for the Federal Government Graduate Scheme as trainee with Environment Australia in Canberra.

'This was the highest level of job-training available', said Sally. For a year, Sally received practical experiences in areas such as law, politics and plain English (report writing). It was a demanding and exciting learning curve. At the end of the Graduate Scheme, Sally was appointed to the Antarctic Division of Environment Australia.

Based in Hobart, Sally was involved in the coordination of scientific research applications and processes. All the various ideas for Antarctic research were passing across her desk. 'I also had responsibility for processing documents to do with Australia's Antarctic Treaty commitments. This included all paperwork associated with an annual international Antarctic Treaty conference. It sure was a busy and interesting time!'

Eventually, Sally returned to Victoria to work. However, she was becoming conscious that it was those with scientific training who were driving environmental policy making. 'I was being employed as an administrator. I was implementing their initiatives and insights, but I lacked the technical background to argue my point of view with credibility in professional circles.

'Perhaps I should have done more science at school or early on at university to allow me to specialise more something with a more chemical, statistical or biological base to it.

'When a position at the University of Melbourne came up, where my administrative skills and environmental knowledge could be better used, I took it.

I now feel that I've found a way to use my strengths. There are so many stimulating and challenging aspects to the administrative tasks here at the university. I've had one reappointment already. Geography and my environmental skills seem likely to fade deeper into the background as I respond to future opportunities'.