Information for applicants


To be eligible to apply for vacancies within the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities you must be an Australian citizen. Any queries relating to this requirement can be discussed with the recruitment manager on (02) 6274 1277.

Important information

Online applications:

Where available applications should be submitted using the online system. The applicant details form is included in the online system. If you are unable to utilise the online system, you should liaise with the contact officer to make alternative arrangements. Please note, as most online vacancies are restricted to a word limit, any alternative arrangement should also adhere to that word limit.

General/alternative applications should include:

  1. a covering letter which includes:
    • the title and position number of the position you are applying for;
    • details of where and how you can be contacted during business hours (9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday); and
    • a brief summary (no more than a paragraph) of your suitability for the position;
  2. the applicant details form
  3. your claims against each selection criterion, clearly set out using each selection criterion as a heading and followed by a brief summary of how your experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications relate to each selection criterion; and
  4. a current curriculum vitae which includes:
    • your full name;
    • address;
    • contact telephone numbers;
    • citizenship;
    • work experience starting from the present and working to the past; and
    • qualifications and membership of professional organisations

What about referee reports?

Please do not provide referee reports at this stage.

The selection committee will only seek referee reports for the preferred candidates for a vacancy after further assessments have been conducted, or during the shortlisting process if they are having difficulty deciding if an applicant should be selected for further assessment.  It is in your interest to notify any intended referees that you have nominated them.  The department uses verbal referee reports in many cases.

Submitting your application

The preferred method to submit a job application is via the department’s online recruitment system. This system is not yet available for all of the department's advertised positions. If you are unable to lodge your application online, please submit your documents:

via email to:

the contact officer's email as listed in the job description;

by mail to:

(the contact officer nominated on the vacancy)
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

or by hand:

If you are delivering the application by hand please call the Contact Officer on the telephone number in the job description to organise a convenient time.

Applications must arrive before the closing date as selection panels are not obliged to accept late applications. Should you be unable to meet that deadline, you must notify the nominated contact officer and seek agreement to submitting a late application.

What about attachments to your application?

Please do not send any attachments such as examples of work, publications or graphics with your application. If you are selected for interview you may wish to bring them to the interview.

Does the department acknowledge the receipt of applications?

No, the department does not acknowledge applications on receipt.

The basis for selecting staff

The selection of staff to the Department is based on the relative merit of the applicants in relation to the specified selection criteria.

In most cases it is essential that you specifically address each of the selection criteria for a position.  The information you provide in your application must be clear and concise as it will be the basis for the selection of applicants.

The department uses a streamlined recruitment process, using a very rigorous shortlisting process and offers selection panels a number of different assessment procedures.  These may include contacting referees prior to assessment, making an assessment based on application and referee input alone, or conducting interviews, examining work samples and/or conducting performance tests (written or practical).

Our aim is to ensure that fair consideration is given to all applicants.  So that Selection Committees can be appropriately structured and adequately able to consider the claims of people from designated groups, applicants may wish to indicate if they are from a particular group in their application.  Designated groups are: women; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders; people from non-English speaking backgrounds and people who have a disability.

Availability during selection process

The selection committee will make a number of attempts to contact applicants but where contact is not possible from the information provided no further consideration will be given to the application.

Remuneration policy

If you are the successful applicant you may like to note the department's policy on commencement salaries and annual pay progression and discuss your commencing salary with the delegate before your engagement/promotion takes effect.

Clause 5.22 of the Department's Enterprise Agreement states:

Where an employee commences employment in the Department or is promoted within the Department, the employee's salary will be the point in the salary range applicable to the classification of the job, as determined by the delegate, having regard to the experience, qualifications and skills of the employee.

Clause 5.23:

At the discretion of the delegate, where:

Clause 5.24:

Where clause 5.23 applies, the delegate may determine that the employee receive additional salary to maintain the employee's previous salary, until such time as the employee's salary is equal to, or greater than, that previous salary (e.g. because the employee is promoted or the relevant pay points for the classification increase due to pay increases).

Clause 5.39 to 5.44, Annual Pay Progression – it should be noted that progression through ongoing pay points is an annual event on 1 September each year for eligible employees.

Further information regarding employment conditions can be found in the department's Enterprise Agreement.

Further information

General questions about your application and conditions of employment should be directed to the Recruitment Manager on (02) 6274 1277.

Questions about the duties and responsibilities of the position, and the selection process should be directed to the contact officer listed on the advertisement.

Temporary Employment Register

Most non-ongoing vacancies are filled through the department's Temporary Employment Register. This register may be used to fill short term vacancies in a range of areas which may include: administration, client service, legal, public affairs, policy, regulatory/compliance, corporate services, program delivery and executive/personal assistants.

Temporary vacancies may become available at any time and all positions are located in Canberra.

Please note:

  1. Applications will remain on our temporary register for 6 months. After this date your application will be deleted and you will need to reapply online if you are still interested in seeking temporary work with the department.
  2. There is no guarantee that you will be offered temporary employment.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Applicants must be Australian citizens
  2. Redundancy recipients from APS Agencies must have completed the required restriction period.

The online temporary register is available from the department's 'Jobs List - External Vacancies' listing at the following site:

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Last updated: Thursday, 01-Aug-2013 10:03:51 AEST