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Real Business : Winter 2008
REAL BUSINESS ISSUE 2, 2008 29 a wEEk In thE lIfE I enjoyed accounting at uni, but was never interested in becoming a “normal” accountant. My job as an economic policy officer with Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria is therefore perfect. I get involved in groundbreaking theory and research, work closely with a diverse range of people and see the work I do making a tangible difference. The EPA’s vision is for the community to live sustainably, and this is one of the factors that makes me passionate about working here. It is a career that personally motivates me. The environment is an amazing experience! nnn Monday aM: The first task for my week is a teleconference with the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission to discuss the latest draft of a regulatory impact statement (RIS) we’re preparing. To ensure the best possible legislation is created, all state government departments prepare an impact statement before the legislation’s introduction to parliament. The analysis and consultation process involves the whole of the state’s community and ensures that all proposals are transparently and rigorously scrutinised. PM: I head out for a quick bite of lunch, which I eat over CPA study. I’m studying corporate governance and taxation this semester, and starting to wish I’d put my head down a little earlier. My afternoon is spent on the EPA’s regulatory reform program – that is, “red tape” reduction. To successfully protect and improve the environment, what we require from business needs to be cost-effective and to not impose too much burden. One of the EPA’s core objectives is to positively contribute to economic growth. This is important to the organisation because it is only through business, government and the community having the ability and desire to work together that maximum benefits to the environment can be realised. nnn Tuesday aM: My morning is spent analysing the impacts of a potential government policy introduction. Forecasting and analysis methods applied within the environmental arena are different from standard accounting cost-benefit techniques. It is impossible to put a financial- or market-based price on so many factors. Valuation techniques are still emerging in this area and are attracting huge amounts of attention from academics and policy makers. PM: Back-to-back meetings relating to this morning’s policy development fill my afternoon. Much like any business, the work we do impacts on a wide range of stakeholders, and it won’t succeed unless we involve them all in our decision making. In the evening some mates and I make the most of Melbourne’s great social scene and catch a Comedy Festival show. nnn Wednesday aM: The day begins with a team coffee to welcome the new member of my unit. I sometimes think the Southbank cafes located near Melbourne’s Yarra River make the majority of their revenue from us! The rest of my morning is spent brainstorming concepts and the applications of environmental offsets. The EPA has just released a discussion paper on the subject, and it’s really exciting to be involved in the design of such an innovative, market-based regulatory initiative. PM: Over lunch I get the opportunity to hear a fascinating summary of a PhD thesis on the economics of waste, before spending the afternoon with the EPA’s internal environmental performance committee. The EPA needs to live the values it promotes, and has done a lot of work to become carbon neutral and greatly decrease water usage and waste generation. We also have some exciting plans for the future including becoming waste and water neutral, creating an internal carbon-trading scheme to further reduce emissions, and publishing sustainability reports in line with the GRI framework. I rush out of work at 5.30pm to get to my first (of hopefully many) CPA Young Professionals Network committee meetings. nnn Thursday aM: I get an early start today to attend the launch of Project Paperless, a Planet Ark initiative that is aiming to reduce paper usage by 25 per cent in five years. Afterwards my diary is pretty empty, so I decide it’s time to tackle the mountain of paperwork on my desk. I have a few calls to make to waste industry consultants, which, with my year 10 level scientific knowledge and no engineering skills, always makes me a bit nervous. My discomfort, though, is as usual, unfounded. The majority of people I meet in the environmental industry are friendly, enthusiastic and always try to speak in terms that I can understand. PM: I spend some time in the afternoon keeping up to date on recent media, journal articles and emerging opinions about environmental issues. nnn Friday aM: Over the morning I develop and type up a project brief for a proposal of mine, which is intended to create better internal transparency and information gathering. A drawcard for the EPA from an employee perspective is the opportunity the organisation provides for personal career and leadership development. PM: After lunch I spend some time with my director discussing the strategic direction of several projects I’m involved in, and what feedback we’ve had from other parts of government and the business community. The team winds up early today for 4.30pm drinks to celebrate some successes we’ve had over the week. After some great company, white wine and snack food I wander home at around 8.00pm. nnn Weekend My weekend goes far too quickly. I manage to find time for my sword fighting training. What’s that, you ask? While surfing the internet one day I encountered a site offering ancient weapons training. It’s a personal training service for anything you can observe in Gladiator or Braveheart: swords, poleaxes, daggers, archery. My speciality is the German longsword. I’m learning different movements and combinations. It’s great for fitness and mental dexterity. Then before I know it it’s Sunday evening and I’m getting ready for another big week. n neT gains To check out Jane Hermiston explaining ecological footprints, log onto www.cpacareers.com.au/links/multimedia
Issue 3 2008