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ACT Government

  • #3 in Government & public safety
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Sonia Sadrani

You don’t have to know what you want to do with the rest of your life as a student; you have plenty of time to learn and make mistakes.

What's your job about? 

I work in the Workforce Governance team of the Workforce Capability and Governance division in the Chief Ministers, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate of ACT Government. In my current role, I provide legal policy advice on a wide range of employment and governance matters within the ACT Public Service. 

Right now, I am working on reviewing a piece of legislation that governs the employment framework for ACT public servants and making amendments to this piece of subordinate legislation. As the project lead, my day includes everything from project management to researching to liaising with stakeholders on the issue for the day. Working in a team that deals with the whole-of-government, no day or issue is the same which keeps my tasks exciting. 

One of my favourite parts of my job is that I get to use my legal skills to problem solve technical legislative issues that end up becoming legislative amendments. You get to see the work you do every day, impact the community you work and live in!

What's your background? 

I grew up in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne and did all my schooling there. I was slightly unsure of what I wanted to study during my undergraduate, so I chose a business degree with majors in the two subjects I loved most in VCE; legal studies and economics. I did a semester abroad at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and got given the opportunity to experience subjects in politics, policy and philosophy. This combined with my interest in the law then inspired me to go and do my post-graduate Law degree. I have always been interested in how and why we make the decisions we do and the impacts they can have on our surrounding environment. From this, I knew that I wanted to work for the public service, and so before I graduated from my JD I got offered a graduate position with the ACT Government which I accepted and packed up my life in Melbourne and moved to Canberra.

What characteristics or skills should someone have when it comes to your job? 

Working in the legal policy space requires someone who enjoys problem-solving and thinking out of the box whilst still being quite analytical and process-driven. If you enjoy working with people, then you will also definitely succeed in this kind of role. We are constantly engaging with a variety of stakeholders both internal and external to government and so having strong interpersonal and communication skills is crucial.

Ultimately, being passionate about wanting to make a change is so important because the work we do directly affects the community we live and work in.

What's the coolest thing about your job? 

That I can pick up a piece of legislation and say that I worked on making this law and was present at the Legislative Assembly when it was being debated and passed! The adrenaline and excitement you get of going through the legislative drafting and parliamentary process is indescribable – it’s a lot of hard work but oh so rewarding.

What are the limitations of your job? 

Working in a whole of government team means we have several competing priorities and it’s important to take into consideration the operational impacts of the policies/legislation we develop. We are a busy division where some days we do have to work long hours, but we are encouraged to balance our work and personal commitments through our flexible working arrangements.

What is the most interesting thing you have worked on in your career with the ACTPS so far? 

I got to help develop the legislation establishing the ACT Integrity Commission as a graduate! Through this process, I was given the opportunity to meet and work alongside stakeholders such as the ACT Human Rights Commission, the ACT Ombudsman and even the Office of the Legislative Assembly. It was extremely cool to be able to work on a project from start to finish – I was there right from developing policy, to writing legislative drafting instructions to seeing the legislation be debated and passed in the Assembly.

I even got a personalised letter from the Chief Minister for my work on developing the legislation!

Why I chose the ACT Public Service 

One thing that really drew me to the ACT Public Service was because of its unique set up as a one-tier city (we have no local council), I knew I would have the opportunity to work on a diverse range of tasks and develop my skills in a number of areas. As a graduate, I loved being able to step outside my home directorate of Chief Ministers, Treasury and Economic Development (CMTEDD) and go work in the Justice and Community Safety Directorate (JACSD). I have also had the opportunity to work closely with a number of executives like the Head of Service and the Deputy Director-General of both Workforce Capability and Governance but also of JACSD too, which is something unheard of in the Commonwealth public service sometimes.

I would recommend the ACTPS for anyone who wants to be given the opportunity to work on some really exciting and innovative policy initiatives. Being a slightly smaller jurisdiction than other States and Territories (and even the Commonwealth) means you get given the opportunity to work on some high-profile projects no matter what level you are at and you get the option to move around the Service and see what other teams are working on.

What are 3 pieces of advice you would give yourself when you were a student?

  1. You don’t have to know what you want to do with the rest of your life as a student; you have plenty of time to learn and make mistakes.
  2. Be open to new opportunities.
  3. Understand that rejection doesn’t mean you can’t do the job, it just means it’s not the right job for you.