Wild Deserts Conservation Field Assistant


Wild Deserts Project, Centre for Ecosystem Science, University of NSW


Sturt National Park, NSW

Salary etc:

$82-$93k p.a. + 17% super. 12 months fixed-term.


Job no: 525304

  • One of Australia’s leading research & teaching universities
  • Remote field station with a strong sense of community & inclusion
  • Enjoy a career that makes a difference by collaborating & learning from the best

At UNSW, we pride ourselves on being a workplace where the best people come to do their best work.

Wild Deserts is an ecosystem restoration project in Sturt National Park, far north-west NSW. The project is a partnership between UNSW Sydney, Ecological Horizons and the NSW Government.

The Wild Deserts Conservation Field Officer plays a key role in supporting Wild Deserts’ ecological and restoration project. As part of a multidisciplinary team, the role assists in managing a 35,000 ha area of Strzelecki Desert Dunefields in Sturt National Park, including two 2,000 ha feral free exclosures and a 10,000 ha area intensively managed to supress feral cats for wild releases of threatened fauna.

The role is responsible for undertaking a range of critical activities to support the on-ground delivery of the project including infrastructure and visitor facilities maintenance, pest and weed control, ecological data collection and management.

The role is based on site at the Wild Deserts Field Station (at the Fort Grey Homestead Complex) in Sturt National Park, 440 km north of Broken Hill (110 km north-west of Tibooburra). The field station is remote and arid, with low erratic rainfall and high summer temperatures.

About the role

  • $82K - $93K plus 17% Superannuation and annual leave loading
  • Fixed Term - 12 months
  • Full time - 35 hours (Part-time is possible by negotiation)

The role reports to Wild Deserts Project Coordinator and has no direct reports although may be involved in the direction of casual staff and contractor engagements under manager supervision.

Specific responsibilities for this role include:

  • Co-ordinate regular checking and maintenance of the Wild Deserts feral exclusion fences, totalling 50 km (established new in 2018). Including weekly fence checks, scheduled and reactive maintenance following weather events.
  • Provide assistance in the maintenance and upkeep of field station facilities and assets, including buildings, vehicles, tools and equipment.
  • Carry out conservation management of vertebrate pest species control (e.g. feral cats, foxes, rabbits, pigs) and weed control, as programmed in the Strategic Adaptive Management Plan.
  • Assist the Wild Deserts Principal Ecologist and Field Ecologist roles in ecological and pest control research and monitoring. Examples may include wildlife trapping and monitoring, radio/satellite tracking of wildlife and vertebrate pests, remote camera trap monitoring, drone surveys.
  • Maintain and complete basic record keeping, using basic computer programs and applications.
  • Working with the Wild Deserts Project Co-ordinator, provide direction and supervise external contractors providing maintenance and repair services for the site.
  • Work constructively with a diverse range of people, including local park neighbours, staff from collaborating organisations, visiting university students, researchers, tourists and contractors during day to day works.
  • Align with and actively demonstrate the UNSW Values in Action: Our Behaviours and the UNSW Code of Conduct.
  • Cooperate with all health and safety policies and procedures of the university and take all reasonable care to ensure that your actions or omissions do not impact on the health and safety of yourself or others.

Skills and Experience (Selection Criteria)

To be successful in this role you will have:

  • An equivalent level of knowledge in rural or conservation land management, gained through any other combination of education, training and/or experience.
  • Experience in land management, particularly fencing, infrastructure maintenance, pest and weed control.
  • Demonstrated ability in the maintenance of infrastructure and equipment.
  • Current manual driver's license and first aid certificate.
  • Licensed or willingness to obtain firearm licence (and other accreditations) for feral animal control.
  • Accredited, or willingness to obtain, accreditation to operate a range of machinery, equipment and tools (e.g. earthmoving plant, chainsaw, other).
  • Accredited or willingness to obtain accreditation for using poisons or herbicides in feral animal or weed control.
  • Experience or understanding of scientific methods and research.
  • Proficient computer literacy and accurate record keeping.
  • Well-developed interpersonal and written and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated experience supporting and contributing to projects and initiatives.
  • Knowledge of health and safety responsibilities and commitment to attending relevant health and safety training.
  • An understanding of and commitment to UNSW’s aims, objectives and values in action, together with relevant policies and guidelines.

You should systematically address the selection criteria listed within the position description in your application.

UNSW aspires to be the exemplar Australian university and employer of choice for people from diverse backgrounds. UNSW aims to ensure equality in recruitment, development, retention and promotion of staff and that no-one is disadvantaged on the basis of their gender, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation or identity or Indigenous heritage. We encourage everyone who meets the selection criteria to apply.

UNSW partners with Australia’s leading diversity organisations, networks, and campaigns. Please refer to UNSW’s diversity offerings for further information on our flexible work and leave options, and support for carers (childcare, parent rooms, parental leave).


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