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Graduate Development Program

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is looking for high-achieving graduates who are keen to develop their career and become part of our team. If you're an innovator, creative thinker, communicator or problem solver then we'd love to hear from you.

For all employment opportunities see our current vacancies page.

To be informed when applications open for the 2023 Graduate Development Program subscribe to the MDBA’s job alert service.

Who we are and who we are looking for

With the enactment of the Water Act 2007 (Cth), the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) was established as an independent expertise-based statutory agency.

For the first time in the Basin's history, one Basin-wide institution is responsible for planning the Basin's water resources, with all planning decisions made in the interest of the Basin as a whole.

Our most important work is to:

  • prepare, implement and review an integrated plan for the sustainable use of the Basin's water resources
  • operate the River Murray system and efficiently deliver water to users on behalf of partner governments
  • measure, monitor and record the quality and quantity of the Basin's water resources
  • support, encourage and conduct research and investigations about the Basin's water resources and dependent ecosystems
  • advise the Australian Government Minister for Water Resources on the accreditation of state water resource plans
  • provide water rights information to facilitate water trading across the Basin
  • engage and educate the Australian community about the Basin's water resources.

Our current governance arrangements were preceded by almost a century of different forms and levels of collaborative management with Basin states – in the first instance New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia and more recently joined by Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.

The sustainable management of the Murray–Darling Basin river system is a collective endeavour of the Australian and Basin state governments, with river dependent industries and communities.

The MDBA is recruiting for high-achieving graduates across the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) stream who are passionate about water and interested in becoming part of the MDBA team across one of our regional offices at Goondiwindi, Griffith or Mildura.

We are particularly interested in graduates qualified in:

  • Natural Resource Management
  • Engineering
  • Hydrology
  • Groundwater
  • Environmental and ecological sciences
  • Environmental engineering
  • Social and Economic Sciences
  • Communication and application of science

At the MDBA, we are committed to diversity and inclusion across our workforce, and in the way that we work. We recognise the importance of making the best use of the unique perspectives, experience, knowledge and skills across our regionalised organisation. We strive to create a workplace where our people flourish in a welcoming and culturally safe environment. We encourage and welcome applications from people with disability, First Nations peoples, LGBTIQ+ people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and mature age people.

To be eligible for the Graduate Development Program (the Program) you must:

  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident actively seeking Australian citizenship and will have been granted Australian citizenship prior to the commencement of the Program in February 2023
  • at a minimum, have completed by 31 December 2022 a recognised Australia undergraduate degree in a critical discipline in the last 3 years
  • at a minimum, have achieved a 65% Weighted Average Mark (WAM)
  • satisfy all MDBA engagement requirements including character clearances.

About the Program

The 11-month Program is designed to provide graduates with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills, and understanding of the work of the MDBA and the wider Australian Public Service (APS). Graduates will be exposed to a variety of learning and development activities as well as the opportunity to be involved in networking activities, including whole of government events.

The Program aims to:

  • develop graduates to effectively contribute to the management and development of policies, programs and research
  • maintain the level of technical and management potential within the MDBA.

Key aspects of the Program include:

  • learning and development activities
  • completion of a major project
  • support through a buddy and mentor program
  • ongoing exposure to the Executive Sponsor, the Chief Operating Officer
  • exposure to the Senior Executives.

Graduates will participate in 3 rotations over the 11-month Program. Each rotation will be approximately 14 weeks in duration and will comprise of a range of learning and development activities in addition to rotation work. Rotations are a great way for graduates to build their networks and identify the different parts of the MDBA which they are passionate about working in.

The aim of each rotation is to provide graduates with a broad understanding of the different programs, issues and priorities across the MDBA and their strategic contribution to the MDBA’s objectives and goals.

In accordance with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority Enterprise Agreement 20172020 graduates will commence at the MDBA Graduate Broadband APS 3 classification and upon successful completion of the Program, graduates will be assessed for advancement to the APS 5 classification.

Active participation in scheduled face-to-face and virtual learning and development activities is required to successfully complete the Program. During the Program, graduates will undertake a range of formal and on the job learning and development activities designed to prepare them for career progression. To assist graduates to participate in learning and development activities they are eligible for up to a maximum of 5 hours per week paid leave for study purposes.

Why choose the MDBA?

We're committed to providing flexible working conditions to assist with work/life balance and offer excellent employment conditions and benefits, including but not limited to:

  • a competitive APS 3 commencement salary of $64,586 plus 15.4% superannuation per annum and the opportunity to advance to APS 5 on successful completion of the Program
  • an ongoing placement on successful completion of the Program
  • relocation assistance including
  • travel expenses to transition the graduate and their dependant/s to the destination location
  • removal and storage costs to remove and/or store the graduates household goods and/or motor vehicles
  • settling-in accommodation during the transition period between base and destination location for up to 3 weeks.

Please note, any change of office location requests will only be considered by the delegate following a continuous and unbroken period of ongoing employment with the MDBA of more than 2 years.

Read more about terms and conditions of employment.

How to apply

Selection for the Program is merit based and is based on the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) Integrated Leadership System (ILS) at the APS 3 classification. It is strongly recommended that you read the ILS guide before completing the application form.

Applications open on 19 April 2022 and close 11:30 pm (AEST) 16 May 2022. To apply visit our current vacancies page.

The MDBA Graduate Coordinator is available to answer any enquiries you may have. Please email

Australian Government Graduate Program

The MDBA is participating in the Australian Government Graduate Program. This Program allows applicants to complete one application and be considered for multiple departments and agencies within the APS.

Find out more about the Australian Government Graduate Program.

Indigenous Graduate Pathway

This year we are participating in centralised recruitment through the Indigenous Graduate Pathway. As an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander you will be able to complete one application and be considered for multiple Agencies and Departments within the Australian Public Service (APS). Whether you start your career with us, or somewhere else in the APS you will do meaningful work from day one.

Find out more or apply online for the Indigenous Graduate Pathway.

Updated: 14 Apr 2022