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  • Hear from recent Evergreen program participants

    Meet one of our program managers and some of our Evergreen participants who have recently completed the program.

    Program manager

    Mellony Currell

    I was born in Kempsey on the mid-north Coast of New South Wales (NSW) but I have lived in the Penrith area in NSW for the majority of my life.

    My family are originally from the Gloucester–Myall Lakes area and I am proud that my great grandfather served as an Indigenous serviceman in the First World War.

    I started my working career volunteering as a vet nurse assistant from the age of 12, working every day after school. This led into what I thought would have been my life-long career as a veterinary nurse in a veterinary hospital, which I did for a number of years before my life path changed. I moved to Pormpuraaw, which is an Aboriginal community on the west coast of the Cape York in Queensland with my boyfriend (now husband) to live with family. I worked in the Health Clinic as an administration officer and then as an Aboriginal health worker for a couple of years while my husband built new houses in the community. I loved this time in my life and have so many amazing memories.

    We then returned to Sydney and I started my career within the ATO in the year 2000 as an APS 3 customer service operator in the call centre. Over the past 18 years within the ATO, I have had the opportunity to progress my career and to work in various role across the organisation, such as a technical support officer, senior technical consultant, project manager, relationship manager, team leader, skilling manager, business analyst and, most recently, Program Manager within Entry Level Programs. During that time, I also became a proud mother of two amazing children that mean the world to me.

    I am very passionate about my role as a Program Manager, especially being an Indigenous program manager and supporting Indigenous people through the program.

    I am thankful that in my current role I have the opportunity to, not only promote our Indigenous programs such as the Evergreen program, but to share my knowledge and support people on their journey within the ATO.

    My advice to the world is to take every opportunity that comes your way, not only in your working career but also in life and to enjoy the journey.

    Program participants

    Robert Whybrow

    Robert Whybrow

    A friend, who had previously completed the Evergreen program, recommended the program to me as a good career path in a great place to work. I applied and was successful in joining the program. Initially, I was surprised I was selected, considering I am over 50.

    My first rotation was in Debt Early Intervention; which was a steep learning curve for me but was a good placement to learn many ATO systems. My second rotation was in Learning and Development – working on creative media. This has been a great opportunity, as my passion is photography. Creative media involves editing videos for learning and development projects. I also get to photograph many site events throughout the year.

    The ATO is a great place to work with plenty of support for Evergreen program participants. This is especially good if you are looking for a career path in the public service. There are many different paths available once the initial training and probation has been completed. Interesting opportunities, along with great support, networking with other colleagues and a good work/life balance, makes the ATO a great place to work.

    Carissa Daisy

    Carissa Daisy

    I am a Wiradjuri woman from Narrandera, NSW; however I have lived in Townsville, Queensland, for the past seven years.

    The program was a great opportunity for me to enter into the Australian Public Service. Secure employment and flexible working arrangements were a big consideration, and bonus, being a mum to a young family.

    During the 18-month program, I completed two rotations in different business lines and have gained a vast knowledge of the tax and superannuation systems.

    My skills and capabilities have developed immensely and I have had the opportunity to mentor and train new Evergreen participants. I have built strong relationships and networks that have assisted me throughout the program and into my current position.

    The ATO's Indigenous Employment Network (Moondani) has monthly meetings, which I currently co-chair. Moondani enables Indigenous staff from all areas of the ATO to share knowledge, ideas and events. I have had the opportunity to be a part of committee to organise site events such as National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC.

    I highly recommend this program to anyone, I am happy to be in such a flexible working environment that gives me a great work/life balance.

    David Brazier

    I’m a Darug man working in the Newcastle office.

    Getting on in age, I was both excited and a bit scared as to what challenges would lay ahead of me as an Evergreen participant.

    Having never worked in the Australian Public Service before, the Evergreen program has proved to me that I still have a lot to offer the Australian community. I have also enjoyed working in various roles in a friendly and culturally aware environment.

    The start can be daunting to say the least, but the continual level of support from all levels of staff made my experience one I would like to share and, in particular, encourage others to become involved in if the opportunity arises.

    If you are looking for a start in the APS within the Australian Tax Office and you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, then the Evergreen program is for you!

    Tula Clutterbuck

    Tula Clutterbuck

    I am a proud woman from St Paul, Moa Island in the Western Islands of the Torres Strait.

    The program runs for 18 months in which you complete two rotations. I became interested in working for the ATO as my family have been a part of the agency for generations. I knew it was a great environment to learn and challenge myself.

    My first rotation was within the Superannuation business line, focusing on super guarantee audits. This was a great experience and I learnt a number of important skills. I dealt with customers on a daily basis and began learning about the superannuation systems.

    My second rotation was within the Review and Dispute Resolution (RDR) business line. This was a completely different experience. I worked on reviews and objections against the decisions made across a range of different work types. I thoroughly enjoy working in the RDR business line, as I am continuously learning and challenge myself, and no case is the same.

    The opportunities I have had within the Evergreen program have been amazing. The Evergreen program has given me a path into the ATO and the tools to succeed within the organisation.

    Deane Carroll

    Deane Carroll

    My first day at the ATO was at induction with the Evergreen program cohort in Parramatta. We were welcomed with a morning tea hosted by Jeremy Moore, Assistant Commissioner of Workplace Diversity, and we heard from previous Evergreen participants.

    My first rotation was in Enterprise Solutions and Technology (EST) where I worked across a variety of roles and teams (software management unit, vendor management and executive office). My work involved procurement, software audits and contribution to the two-year extension of the managed network services contract between ATO and Optus.

    My second rotation was in Fraud Prevention and Internal Investigations (FPII), an independent assurance function located within ATO Corporate. My day-to-day duties vary; however FPII’s purpose is to prevent, detect, and investigate fraud, corruption or misconduct by ATO employees.

    The ATO supports staff to be proactive in facilitating their professional development in the workplace – with endless opportunities to promote learning, enhance productivity, and complete formal qualifications.

    Overall, the program has provided me with a foot in the door to secure long-term sustainable employment with the Australian Public Service. I would highly recommend the program to Indigenous Australians seeking to enhance their career opportunities and advance their skills in a professional environment.

    Jasmin Turnbull

    Jasmin Turnbull

    I am a proud Aboriginal woman whose family lineage is connected to Mulanjali people of the Beaudesert area, and the Bunjalung people of the Northern NSW area.

    I became aware of the Evergreen program through family, and was encouraged to apply because of the opportunities for career progression.

    My first rotation was in the Business Service Centre. Whilst it came with challenges, I have built resilience and come away with a lot of knowledge. I had no prior knowledge of tax or superannuation besides how to lodge my own simple tax return. The depth of knowledge I gained in this call centre rotation is extremely valuable and very much sought after in business areas. This rotation laid strong foundations for my second rotation within the Community Education and Assistance (CEA) team – enabling me to work closely with Indigenous communities.

    You will get to work with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds in each rotation. You will increase your knowledge and ability to engage with diverse frontline customers and internal and external stakeholders. The opportunities to develop my professional skills to further my career are extensive. My program manager and team leaders have been very supportive. I now have the opportunity to give back to the community through education of the Australian tax and super systems.

    My passion and commitment to progress to represent our Indigenous employees was acknowledged when I was successful in my application for the role of Co-Chair of the Moondani Network (a site-based support for Indigenous Employees).

    Further to my development, I have also attended the Women’s leadership symposium and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employee roundtable which were valuable networking opportunities.

    Last modified: 09 Jun 2020QC 49440