Updating Results

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development & Communications

4.2
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Katherine Lee

Where are you now?

Three years on, the Department’s name has changed and I have enjoyed a few less steamed buns for breakfast. I now work in the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy Implementation Unit. The team is responsible for developing and putting into effect Australia’s National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, a 20-year strategy to improve the systems that deliver goods and products to businesses, stores and homes.

I undertook my final rotation with the Freight Strategy Unit in 2018 and chose to stay at the end of my graduate program. I was drawn to the nature of the Unit’s work, specifically the opportunity to engage with Cabinet processes, contribute to priorities of Infrastructure and Transport Ministers, and work in a policy space that is a high-priority for industry and Governments.

Recently, I have been leading public consultation to develop a series of principles that will lead to better planning for freight movements in cities. As the development of the principles is a key industry issue, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to lead this work. I am appreciative that I landed in a team that shares significant work and development opportunities across staff members. With my team’s support, I have gained supervisory experience and undertaken secondments to the Department's COVID-19 coordination team and the Australian Public Service Commission where I helped draft the Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy.

Having completed the Graduate Development Program, I was well prepared to take on these roles. Experiences in the Program, including the opportunity to manage projects, lead teams and work across different areas gave me the adaptability, judgment and insights to make meaningful contributions to the Australian Public Service early in my career.

6.00 AM

My alarm goes off. I generally spend a few minutes catching up on messages from friends before hopping out of bed. I put breakfast in the microwave (this morning it’s leftover steamed buns from a Chinese New Year party) and get changed into my gym gear.

6.50 AM

I leave my apartment and walk to the bus stop. I have a 15-20 minute trip from Belconnen in North Canberra to Civic (Canberra’s CBD). I usually use a bus trip to listen to some music and read.

7.15 AM

I arrive at the gym. Working out in the morning helps me stay focused throughout the rest of the day and helps me justify enjoying steamed buns for breakfast. I like to use my workout as a time to listen to some news podcasts. Generally, I listen to Monocle radio’s various programs to catch up on the news in Europe and Politico’s ‘Playbook Audio Briefing’ to hear the headlines from the US.

9.00 AM

I arrive at the office for the day. I usually arrive at the office at 9.00 am, but on some days I’ll come in at 8.30 am. Our department offers employees the opportunity to work anytime between 7.00 am and 7.00 pm, so long as they complete seven-and-a-half hours of work, making it fairly easy to pop out early or during the day if needed.

Katherine in front of the office

9.03 AM

After saying hello to my supervisor, I’ll check my calendar and browse over the news headlines collated by the Department. Although the headlines don’t always touch on the work of my team, I like to have a good grounding on what is affecting the wider department and our Ministers.

I use this time to prioritise my tasks for the day and plan how I will structure my work. Sometimes my supervisor will use this time to catch-up with how I’m going and assign new tasks to me.

9.10 AM

I begin my work for the day.

My first rotation with the department is in the Indian Ocean Territories policy team. The scope of this team is incredibly broad, covering everything from answering questions from residents to helping to secure the economic future of the territories. Consequently, my work is quite diverse. I’m currently working on some environmental approvals, preparing an agenda paper for a community health advisory group and conducting research into support services for disabled residents and their families on Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

9.30 AM

I have a meeting with my supervisor and the director of our team to discuss the research that I have completed on the support services task. We head down to a local coffee shop for the meeting.

At the meeting I present my findings and outline questions that I’ll need to ask our regional teams. My director and supervisor provide some feedbacks and clarify some points. My director asks me to collate my findings into a report for our Branch’s General Manager (a good sign!).

10.00 AM

Back at my desk I change my focus and begin work on the agenda paper for the community health advisory group. This involves collating information from a series of documents and condensing it into a two-page document. When I have finished my draft I send it to my supervisor for approval.

12.30 PM

The graduate group generally eats lunch together, either in the foyer of our building or in a nearby park. We use this as an opportunity to catch-up and check-in on each other. As we all work in separate teams within the Department, sharing lunch together helps us remain connected as a cohort.

1.00 PM

I settle in for the afternoon to work on the environmental approval. A group of us are working together on this task. My role is to collate data on a series of parcels of land on Christmas Island. This afternoon, I’ll be assessing the quality of vegetation and calculating the gradient of the parcels.

I spend the next couple of hours reading contour lines and being surprised that my limited orienteering experience has actually come in handy in the workforce.

Katherine in a Meeting

3.00 PM

With my brief and far from illustrious career as a surveyor at an end, I draft up some emails to send to the regional teams regarding the implementation of a disability support service. I send the drafts off to my supervisor and director.

I also take some time to finalise my enrolment for my graduate course. As part of our graduate program, the department funds a post-graduate qualification. I’m planning to complete my Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice.

3.30 PM

I spend some time familiarising myself with some ordinances relating to the territories. In a few weeks I will be assisting our legal officer in drafting explanatory statements regarding these ordinances.

I also assist my supervisor in completing some ad-hoc tasks. Our team has an incredibly collaborative culture where everyone is willing to help and assist each other. This makes asking questions and seeking advice really easy which has helped me settle in to the department.

4.55 PM

I look over my calendar and double-check what I have scheduled for tomorrow. I make note of any preparation that I’ll have to do in advance of meetings the next day before heading off at 5:00pm.

Katherine at her desk

3.00 PM

With my brief and far from illustrious career as a surveyor at an end, I draft up some emails to send to the regional teams regarding the implementation of a disability support service. I send the drafts off to my supervisor and director.

I also take some time to finalise my enrolment for my graduate course. As part of our graduate program, the department funds a post-graduate qualification. I’m planning to complete my Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice.

3.30 PM

I spend some time familiarising myself with some ordinances relating to the territories. In a few weeks I will be assisting our legal officer in drafting explanatory statements regarding these ordinances.

I also assist my supervisor in completing some ad-hoc tasks. Our team has an incredibly collaborative culture where everyone is willing to help and assist each other. This makes asking questions and seeking advice really easy which has helped me settle in to the department.

4.55 PM

I look over my calendar and double-check what I have scheduled for tomorrow. I make note of any preparation that I’ll have to do in advance of meetings the next day before heading off at 5:00pm.