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Samantha Schaap

Department of Primary Industries,
Parks, Water and Environment.
Protecting our borders - Biosecurity Policy

As a child, I was always very interested in the world around me, particularly animals. I loved rock pools, kept slaters as pets, and watched every David Attenborough series. At high school and college, my favourite subjects were biology and geography so when it came time to choose a course at university, it seemed natural to select a science degree. By that time I had also developed an interest in the law and so enrolled in a combined Bachelor of Science and Law degree at the University of Tasmania, majoring in Zoology. Zoology was really great because it was so interesting and diverse. Plus, I got to go on field trips to some awesome places and make amazing friends. I graduated in 2009 and after completing the legal practice course, got admitted to the legal profession in mid 2010.

At the beginning of 2011, I spent 6 weeks working for Quarantine Tasmania as a support officer. I had the awesome job of driving around the south of the state every day checking various traps for unwanted insect pests that could threaten Tasmania's primary industries, especially fruit growers. Not only did I get to spend my days outside in beautiful places but I was also contributing to protecting the State from nasty pests. The main beasties I was looking for were fruit flies. These flies cause damage to fruit and vegetables meaning that they can't be sold. Not only do farmers lose money due to this pest but Tasmania can also lose market access to countries which are very important to our economy.

Samantha SchaapAfter my time at Quarantine Tasmania, I began my current job with the State Government Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment as a research officer in biosecurity policy. Biosecurity involves protecting Tasmania's economy and environment from the impact of pests and diseases. It is also important in protecting human health and the health of our animals. My job involves making the policies and/or rules that govern how biosecurity is managed in Tasmania.

What I enjoy most about my job is the knowledge that my work contributes to protecting Tasmania's clean, green image and pristine environment. Not only is my job important but it is also really interesting to learn about different pests and diseases and what impacts they could have in Tasmania. By learning more about them, we can learn how to eradicate or control them.

The great thing about science is that it is forever developing. We rely on science in so many ways and to be able to work in a position that involves learning new things all the time is challenging and fun!

To find out more about Biosecurity in Tasmania visit: