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The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources develops and implements policies and programmes to ensure Australia’s agricultural, fisheries, food and forestry industries remain competitive, profitable and sustainable. We also support the sustainable and productive management and use of rivers and water resources.

We have more than 5000 staff working in offices, airports, mail centres, shipping ports, laboratories and abattoirs. We’re located in regional centres, rural communities and capital cities.

Each year we employ graduates from a broad range of disciplines, across areas of science, economics, forecasting, programme and policy implementation.

We are looking for enthusiastic graduates who have a passion for exciting and challenging work, are results oriented and understand the importance of what the department does.

In 2018, help us make a difference and become part of our story

At the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources we value diversity, recognising that people of different backgrounds, work styles and cultures, all combine to give the department an advantage in meeting stakeholder needs.

Our graduates come to the department from all across Australia and have a broad range of academic qualifications, work and life experiences. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people with disability are encouraged to apply.​

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.
Open: 7:00am 8 March 2017
Close: 2:00pm 19 April 2017

Citizenship / Eligibility Requirements

Australian citizens ONLY

Additional Eligibility Information




Make a difference. Build your career. Be part of our story. 

In 2018 the department is offering a vibrant new 12 month graduate programme that is designed to give you the skills and capabilities to meet our broad programme and policy deliverables within our innovative and progressive department.

Some highlights of our programme include:

  • Diploma of Project Management
  • Three workplace rotations to experience the policy, programme, corporate and taskforce work undertaken by 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
  • A mentoring programme with executive level staff
  • An opportunity to compete 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.
  • An active network of graduates, access to a buddy and senior executive Graduate Champion.
  • A targeted suite of learning and development to become an effective policy or programme officer including:
    • administrative law
    • presentation skills
    • policy development and writing skills
    • writing instructional material and report writing
    • APSC graduate series, including the APS Graduate Great Debate
    • risk management and hazard identification
    • public financial literacy skills
    • cultural awareness training
    • meetings with the Graduate Champion and senior executive staff
    • opportunities to attend selected events, seminars and conferences
    • targeted eLearning programmes dependant on rotations.


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 veterinary, applied science, Environment Science, Communications, International relations, plant science, ecology, biology and many more)
  • 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 Programme – 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 including veterinary, applied science, Environment Science, Communications, International relations, plant science, ecology, biology and many more)

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 part of the Generalist stream for training and development however will be recruited under the government’s special 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 Graduate APS 3.03 salary of $60,871 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 Programme 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 Programme 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

Social Network of Graduates 

The Social Network of Graduates is a network made up of graduates from numerous public and private sector organisations and offers a variety of social activities and events for its members throughout the graduate year.

It is a great way to meet other graduates and provides valuable support to those who have recently moved to Canberra. Should you choose to become a member, the department will cover the cost of your membership fee throughout your graduate year.


To help us achieve our goals and foster our positive workplace culture 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 2018 Graduate Development Programme open on 7:00am (EDST) Wedndesday 8 March 2017 and close 2:00pm (ESDT) Wednesday 12 April 2017. You need to submit your application through our online application process.

You will have to respond to three set questions with a specified word limit. You will also be required to upload a copy of your CV and academic transcript.

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

Reasonable adjustments 

If you need any equipment or assistance to participate in our selection process, let us know during the application process.

Recruitment Process

The recruitment process involves several assessment tasks. Each task is designed to assess your ability to demonstrate that you possess, or have the real potential to develop, the required skills, knowledge and qualifications to perform the graduate role.

The process can take several months with successful applicants likely to be notified in September/October 2017 and start the program in February 2018.


To be eligible for the 2018 Graduate Development Programme you must be an Australian citizen or become a citizen by the start of the Programme in early 2018.

You must have completed a Bachelor’s degree (or higher qualification) by the programme’s commencement in February 2018. There is no timeframe as to when you completed your degree. A minimum academic standard will not be set, although grades will be taken into consideration as part of the assessment process.

International qualification

If you received your degree overseas, you will need to have it recognised by the office of International Education at the Department of Education and Training. If you have any questions in relation to your overseas qualification, contact International Education on 1300 615 2262 or visit International Education’s website.

Security clearance and medical examination

You must complete these processes if you are successful in being offered a position with the department.

You will need to undergo a security clearance to the Negative Vetting Level 1 which involves a police records check and by the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA).

You will need to undergo a medical examination by the department’s external health provider to determine if you are medically fit to undertake an APS position.

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