Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Food
Job Title: Development Officer
Word Limit: 500 words per criteria
Location: Broome, WA
Successful applicants will have a demonstrated ability to carry out scientific research and
development activities relevant to the agriculture, food and fibre industries.
I have extensive research and development expertise within the agricultural sector, with over 20 years of
experience undertaking a broad range of duties and functions within this environment. In my current
position as a Technical Officer with the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA) I
have a range of responsibilities related to agricultural research and plant pathology. Prior to my current
role I worked in a number of diverse technical positions across the agricultural, mining and livestock
At DAFWA I have developed a wide range of skills within agricultural research, with specific expertise in
plant pathology and in my current position I contribute significantly to the protection of the state’s
agricultural resources. During my employment I have led the development of innovative methodologies for
disease forecasting, management and minimisation which has had a substantial impact on improving the
yield of a range of crops within WA. For example, I led the establishment and implementation of a disease
modelling process to manage and minimize Sclerotinia (a disease of the canola crop). I used a range of
channels and media to effectively communicate this information to WA growers which resulted in a
significant reduction of the incidence of the disease and has increased crop production levels.
I am considered a leading expert within the area of plant pathology and am regularly consulted by Research
Officers both from within WA and interstate. I am seen as a senior technical officer within the Northam
Office and I regularly provide across such topics as barley agronomy, weeds, wheat agronomy, soil acidity,
NRM (Natural Resource Management) and GIS (Geographical Information Systems). I have also used my
expertise to assist with site selection, trial implementation and assessment of disease trials. I am able to
identify a range of diseases in the field, as well as identify and grow them on media in the laboratory. My
technical skills were recognized when and I was asked to take over the running of the South Perth
diagnostic lab when a number of senior staff were absent due to attendance at a conference.
I have a diverse range of research and analysis duties within my current role. These include ensuring the
laboratory is maintained to PC2 (quarantine) standard, as well as maintaining and repairing laboratory and
glasshouse equipment as required. I am also responsible for quarantine handling of plant disease samples
from interstate and overseas, preparing slides and using dissecting and compound microscopes to assess
plant samples, maintaining local culture collections, and producing media and bulk fungal inoculum for
trials. My role also incorporates collecting spore trap stubble samples for disease risk prediction and
disease model development.
I have a Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Australia, have completed extensive specialty
training and ensure the currency of my expertise by attending Crop Updates, local and regional field days,
GID spring tours and reading Pest-fax, e-weed, AgMemo and various research papers.
• We are looking for applicants who have demonstrated workplace communication skills.
I have excellent workplace communication skills, with a proven ability to undertake productive
collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders to progress research and development activities.
I liaise with interstate and local colleagues to facilitate the collection of samples for assessment and
analysis and to run plant pathology field trials. I also consult with them to share information and findings
and to foster an integrated approach to research and development processes. I liaise with South Perth
Research Officers and the entomology group, and have developed collaborative networks within the
DAFWA plant pathology group.
I have also established excellent networks with external industry groups and peak bodies. I established and
maintain a sms contact database which I use to communicate weekly disease updates to growers
throughout the region. I also have fostered a mutually beneficial network of local farmers and industry
groups from whom I source samples stubble and who I provide with farm notes and details on field days as
well as other informative DAFWA presentations.
I also have exceptional presentation and facilitation skills, with the ability to deliver information in a
confident and persuasive manner, and to adjust the presentation to suit the knowledge and interests of the
audience. I regularly deliver information on laboratory and field trial work to a diverse range of visitors,
including international researchers and VIPs, university graduates, school groups, the WA Minister of
Agriculture and Grains Research and Development (GRDC) panel members. I also presented a session to
over 100 staff at the Grains Industry Open Day relating to the redevelopment of the northern region.
Throughout my professional career I have used my strong interpersonal skills to work cooperatively within
teams to achieve shared goals and outcomes. I chair and organise the monthly technical officer meetings in
Northam, where I facilitate discussion of topical issues between the diverse Technical Officers to ensure a
I demonstrated strong negotiation skills when I led the implementation of the automated Building
Management System. This project required extensive consultation with the Building and Management
Works Division to progress the process, with staff and other stakeholders to ensure it met the needs of
everyone involved and with engineers and other specialists to align the functionality of the system to in-
house technical requirements.
I also have excellent written skills and regularly complete a range of technical documentation, including
RQMS, reports and laboratory protocols. I also recently wrote a report that reviewed and condensed over
ten years of research into the Sclerotinia disease to provide a foundation for the modelling required to
minimise the disease. Other examples of my written skills include the preparation of a report regarding the
integration of work flows and processes as part of the redevelopment of DAFWA Northam site, conference
notes, presentations, agendas, safety protocols and work instructions, technical skills capability documents,
business cases to support staff contract renewals, and a job description for the Manager of Technical
Services. I have also co-authored a number of published papers within the epidemiology field.
Applicants will demonstrate the ability to achieve innovation and change.
I have always been a creative and innovative employee, with the ability to generate solutions and to review
processes to enhance organisational efficiency. Currently I am responsible for the management of the four
glasshouses and four controlled temperature rooms, including improvements and the replacement of
equipment. These facilities are used by staff from within the office, other areas in DAFWA and outside
private companies. The maintenance of these assets is vital for the long term research capabilities of
To enhance these capabilities I led the implementation of an automated Building Management System that
monitors a variety of variables within the glasshouses and controlled temperature rooms, including
humidity, temperature, soil moisture and light levels. Before the introduction of the system many of these
items had to be manually monitored and faults in equipment such as the air conditioning or watering
system could cause extensive damage to samples. Initially I sourced funding for the project within the
capital works budget and submitted a proposal to gain approval for the system. I then undertook extensive
research to determine the best system available that would align with the in-house work requirements.
This included liaising extensively with staff to determine how the system could best support and enhance
current work processes. I also worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop the tender for the system,
select the contractor, and then ensure the implementation phase went smoothly with minimal disruption
to work processes.
The system is now operational and any discrepancies in the variables listed above triggers an alert that is
sent to my phone. I can then go online to check the nature of the issue and determine if it needs an
immediate response. This system has significantly enhanced the research capabilities of the office and
ensured the integrity of various samples. It has also allowed enhanced reporting on facility issues such as
the usage rates of electricity. I am currently working with staff to determine if the system can be further
expanded to automate additional activities. I also embrace the innovative use of software to support and
enhance work processes. I have designed macros within Excel that speed up disease modelling and utilise a
range of electronic media to disseminate relevant disease and crop information to a diverse variety of
I have also used my conceptual and problem solving skills to undertake a range of activities that had a
significant positive impact of the production of crops within WA. I have been instrumental in developing
methodologies that allow accurate disease forecasting and in assisting farmers to grow out soil borne
diseases. As mentioned previously, I led the establishment and implementation of a disease modelling
process to manage and minimize Sclerotinia (a disease of the canola crop). I used a range of channels and
media to effectively communicate this information to WA growers, which has resulted in a significant
reduction of the incidence of the disease and the increased crop yields.