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The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources develops and implements policies and programs to ensure Australia’s agricultural, fisheries, food and forestry industries remain competitive, profitable and sustainable, and supports the sustainable and productive management and use of rivers and water resources. We have staff working all across Australia and around the world in offices, airports, mail centres, shipping ports, laboratories and abattoirs. We are located in regional centres, rural communities and capital cities.

As a graduate within the Department you will be working with the best in the agricultural business. From the Chief Plant Protection Officer and the Chief Veterinary Officer, to scientists and policy developers, to our front line staff protecting our country’s biosecurity at the airports and ports.

We are looking for creative minds and future leaders to help shape our story. Our graduates are responsive, collaborative and compassionate individuals looking to make a real difference.

Each year we employ graduates from a broad range of disciplines including science, economics, finance, ICT, program and policy implementation.

We value diversity in our workforce, recognising that people from different backgrounds and cultures all combine to make the department what it is and able to meet our stakeholder’s needs.

Key Facts


Government & Public Sector


Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences
Environmental Science
Fisheries Management

Position Locations



To be eligible for a graduate entry level position with the department you must be an Australian Citizen. The online application form, including opening and closing dates, can be accessed here for Graduate Programs and here for Career Opportunities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people with disability are encouraged to apply.

Applications for the 2020 Graduate Development Program open 14 March 2019.

Citizenship / Eligibility Requirements

Australian citizens ONLY

Additional Eligibility Information




In 2020 the department is offering a 12 month graduate program designed to provide you with the kick-start to your career in the Australian Public Service.

The program includes:

  • Three workplace rotations across the department
  • A five day industry visit, providing you with a rich on the job learning experience, and the opportunity to meet with stakeholder and complete a research project
  • Executive engagement
  • An opportunity to apply for a work placement within one of the department’s portfolio agencies or regional offices
  • A visit to the Minister’s Office, Senate Estimates and Parliament House to gain exposure to parliamentary proceedings
  • Inclusion into our graduate network, access to a buddy and senior executive Graduate Champion
  • A targeted suite of learning and development to support your development throughout the program

Professional Streams

The department offers a number of graduate streams each working directly on projects to achieve our objectives. These streams include:

  • Generalist (all degree disciplines including communications, international relations, and many more)
  • Science (degrees including veterinary and applied science, environment science, plant science, ecology, biology)
  • Human Resource Management (degrees including, Business Management, psychology, employee relations, corporate sustainability, cross cultural management)
  • Finance and Accounting (degrees including accounting, commerce)
  • ICT (degrees including information and communications technology, software engineering, business including business informatics, data and project management)
  • ABARES Entry Level Professional Program – it is highly desirable that applicants hold an honours-level degree or above in economics, econometrics, statistics, mathematics, modelling, spatial analyses, fisheries, forestry, environmental science or social science
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (All degree disciplines)

We encourage all suitably qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates to apply for our specialist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stream. These positions will be recruited under the government’s affirmative measures policy.

We may also use this process to fill graduate positions in other agencies within the agriculture portfolio, including the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

Work with the best and become part of our story

  • A 2019 Graduate will commence on an APS 3.03 salary of $63,952 plus a generous 15.4% employer superannuation provision
  • generous relocation assistance to Canberra
  • flexible working hours that assist you to balance your work and personal life
  • substantial leave provision of four weeks annual leave and four weeks personal leave per year
  • access to a gym and an annual healthy lifestyle payment
  • a challenging and structured career path
  • on successful completion of the Program advancement to an APS 4 classification.

Support Network 

As a graduate you will receive support to assist in your transition to the department and life in Canberra. This includes support from the Graduate Development Program managers, trained supervisors, experienced training facilitators and a network of current and previous graduates. Throughout the year you will have numerous opportunities to give and receive feedback on your individual progress.

Our department proudly supports the many diversity networks, which you can become a part of when joining the department. The networks host regular meetings and celebrate flagship events.

  • Cultural and Linguistically Diverse Network
  • Disability Employees’ Network
  • Carers and Flexible Employees’ Network
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employees’ Network
  • Women’s Integrated Network
  • LGBTI Pride Network


We are seeking graduates with the following characteristics:

  • Aspiring leaders – you willingly tackle important issues
  • Creative minds – you are open to doing things differently to achieve success
  • Future thinkers – you anticipate and adapt to new situations
  • Compassionate – you are mindful of the impact you have on others
  • Responsive and collaborative individuals – you make things happen and build on partnerships to succeed.

To complement these characteristics, you will also have the following skills and attributes:

  • High motivation
  • Well-developed written and oral communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • The ability to work well in a team
  • Well-developed critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Ability to use initiative and be a flexible team member.


Applications for the 2020 Graduate Development Program open 14 March 2019.

You will be required to submit a 1000 word statement outlining why you want to be employed on the Graduate Development Program. You will also be required to upload a copy of your CV and academic transcript. Find more information.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources ABARES Entry Level Professional Program (ELPP) for graduates has its own application process. For information on eligibility and how to apply for this program go to the ABARES Careers webpage.

Reasonable adjustments

Should you require any equipment or assistance to participate in our selection process, please nominate through your application form. Alternatively you can email graduaterecruitment@agriculture.gov.au  if you require any information.

Recruitment Process

The recruitment process involves several assessment tasks that form gateways to the next. Each task is designed to assess your demonstrated ability to, or have the potential to develop the required skills, knowledge and qualifications to perform the graduate role.

The process is very in-depth and as such can take several months to complete. All applicants will be notified of their progress throughout the process. Successful applicants are likely to be notified in September/October 2018 and start the program in February 2019.


To be eligible for the 2020 Graduate Development Program you must be an Australian citizen or have been granted citizenship prior to 1 January 2020.

You must have completed a Bachelor’s degree (or high qualification) at a minimum, prior to the program’s commencement in February 20120. There is no timeframe as to when you completed your degree.

You must be able to obtain and maintain a Negative Vetting Level 1 security clearance issued by the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA).

International qualification

If you received your degree overseas, you will need to have it recognised by the office of International Education, this website provides contact details for each state and territory.

Security clearance and medical examination

To be offered a position on the 2019 Graduate Development Program, you will need to obtain a AFP police records check. If you are cleared to be offered a position you will them be required to undertake the following

  • Undergo a security clearance to the Negative Vetting Level 1 which involves a series of assessments and background checks conducted by AGSVA.
  • Undergo a medical examination by the department’s external health provider to determine if you are medically fit to undertake an APS position (this will include a Q Fever vaccination)

Failure to undertake these processes or achieve the appropriate clearance may jeopardise your employment.