Australia nationals: Assistant Secretary

Australia Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Parkes ACT, Australia 🇦🇺

Who we are

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) is responsible for protecting Australia’s natural resources, agriculture and way of life. We deliver policies and programs that drive strong and sustainable agricultural industries, manage our unique environment and heritage, and support our regional communities.

Our purpose is “Partnering and regulating to enhance Australia’s agriculture, unique environment, heritage, and water resources”.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office is a Division within the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. The Office was established to support the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) – a statutory position established by the Water Act 2007 (the Water Act) to manage the Commonwealth’s environmental water holdings. This portfolio of water licences is dedicated to protecting and improving the health of 20,000 km of rivers, floodplains and wetlands within the 1 million km2 Murray-Darling Basin.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office employs around 60 people and includes 8 local engagement officers who live and work in regional centres across the Murray–Darling Basin. Roles range from water planning and delivery, portfolio management, monitoring and evaluation, policy development, statutory reporting and communications. The Office also supports the Australian Government in its international obligations under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention)
The job

In your role as Assistant Secretary, you will be part of a highly motivated team of professionals who are contributing to a sustainable Basin-wide approach to planning and managing its water resources. Stakeholder engagement is a critical element of our work. We provide a rewarding and stimulating work environment that values and embraces efficient and innovative work practices. You will have the opportunity to:

  • Work in a world-leading agency that provides water to protect the health of rivers and wetlands across the Murray-Darling Basin
  • Lead motivated and dedicated teams to support the decisions of a statutory office
  • Be on the front line of engagement with Basin communities regarding water for the environment.

As Assistant Secretary, your duties will include but are not limited to:

  • Engaging and collaborating with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Supporting the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder in ensuring the effective management and use of the Commonwealth’s environmental water entitlements. 
  • Directing, planning and coordinating the work of the Branch within the broader objectives of the Division, including supporting the Department’s priorities and objectives. 
  • Supporting and driving a high performing culture.
  • Ensuring a high level of service to the Minister, Minister’s Office and departmental Senior Executive.

What we are looking for

To be successful for this role you will need to meet the Senior Executive Service capability for the SES band 1, and you will have the following attributes:

  • Ability to demonstrate your collaboration and agility with a proven record of delivering high quality and innovative financial management outcomes in a complex, politically sensitive, and operationally diverse environment.
  • Ability to drive broad transformational change, both internal and external to the department.
  • Outstanding leadership skills, a substantial record of achievement and a reputation for innovation and delivery of results.
  • Excellent stakeholder relationship skills and experience in engaging with internal and external stakeholders at all levels to explore opportunities and solve complex problems.
  • Demonstrating a strategic perspective and ability to manage competing demands and work to tight deadlines.
  • Highly developed management and stakeholder engagement skills and ability to represent the department at a range of forums.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with all audiences, be articulate and persuasive and capable of guiding negotiations to a point of resolution in a facilitative way
  • Demonstrated public service professionalism and probity.

Please note

  • The role will require you to travel regularly to rural and remote locations to engage with Murray Darling Basin communities.
  • The successful applicant should understand issues affecting Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and have an ability to communicate sensitively and effectively with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. People of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent are encouraged to apply.

Security clearance
This position requires a Negative Vetting Level 1 security clearance. The successful applicant will be required to obtain and maintain a clearance at the appropriate level for this position.

Job Description

How to apply:




IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development