David Templeman

David Templeman

Minister for the Environment; Climate Change; Peel

    DEC graduates well prepared for conservation challenge

    6/06/2008 12:00 AM

    A total of 23 young people are set to contribute their knowledge and skills to the management of the State’s natural assets following their graduation from the Department of Environment and Conservation’s Graduate Development Program.


    Speaking at the graduation and awards ceremony in Fremantle this morning, Environment and Climate Change Minister David Templeman said the enthusiasm and professionalism of DEC staff was evidenced by the fact 255 people applied to enrol in the prestigious program.


    “It is a mark of the program’s effectiveness that all of this year’s graduates have already been appointed to positions throughout the State and I am sure they will play important roles in the future management of our conservation estate and the environment,” Mr Templeman said.


    The Minister said that more than half of all graduates recruited by DEC since 1995 were women.


    “This is an important development considering how men have traditionally dominated the natural resource management industry,” he said.


    The winner of the top award, the Keynes Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in practical and theoretical work, was Exmouth nature conservation officer Brooke Halkyard.


    The Director General’s Merit Awards went to Rebecca Coyle and Chris Stewart.


    Ms Coyle works in DEC’s Tourism and Licensing Branch in Perth and Mr Stewart is a parks and visitor services officer in the Frankland District.


    This year, DEC also took on four National Indigenous Cadetship Project cadets and

    17 Mentored Aboriginal Training and Employment Scheme (MATES) trainees, with one cadet and nine trainees graduating today.


    Mr Templeman said that since its launch five years ago, MATES had won both State and national awards in recognition of its achievements.


    The Minister thanked DEC’s partners in the MATES program - Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Employfast, the Department of Education and Training, BHP Billiton Iron Ore and the Bunuba Cattle Company - for their contribution.


    The Kwabalitch Award, sponsored by the Fremantle Football Club, for the MATES trainee who demonstrates an admirable level of dedication to their studies, went to Craig Hart.


    Mr Hart started his traineeship with DEC in 2005 at the Katanning Work Centre and in January this year was appointed acting field officer for nature conservation and visitor services in the Great Southern District.


    The Aboriginal Trainee Supervisor of the Year Award, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, went to Mitchell Davies for his commitment to the development of Aboriginal trainees at the Katanning Work Centre.


    A number of other awards and scholarships for DEC employees were also presented this morning, including:


    • The Director General’s Scholarships for Study Assistance were awarded to Jason Fletcher (Frankland District), who joined DEC as a seasonal firefighter in 2001 and went on to manage a rare flora search program, and to reserve officer Alexandra Dent (Monkey Mia);
    • The Sciences Scholarships in memory of Dr George Malajczuk, were awarded to Kaylene Carter, Grant Hymus (both from Perth) and Lindsay Bourke(Geraldton); 
    •  The Seamus Mulholland Leadership Scholarships were awarded to Kym Squires (Perth) and Graeme Keals (Wheatbelt Region);
    • The Director General’s Career Development Scholarships were awarded to Tarek Hassan, Anne Greig, Mark Neilson (all from Kensington), Paul Blechynden (Yilgarn District) and Grant Phelan (Donnelly District); and
    •  The Women’s Scholarships in honour of June Craig, were awarded to Femina Metcalfe and Lynley Stone(both from Kensington).

    The Minister also announced a new scholarship in the field of environmental education.


    “The scholarship has been established by the Conservation Commission of Western Australia in recognition of the outstanding contribution that Vincent Serventy made to nature conservation,” he said.


    Mr Templeman said the scholarship, valued at $5,000 per year, would be awarded for research in environmental education for an initial period of five years.
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