Keiran Walters

Senior Policy Adviser
Spatial Data Policy Section, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
Scholarship recipient

About Keiran

I've been in or near Canberra most of my life, having gone to high school and university here. Prior to university I was very interested in biology and genetics (largely thanks to a wonderful biology teacher and a scuba diving trip to the Barrier Reef), which ultimately brought me to ANU. When I got to ANU things changed a little in that I focused more on chemistry, and separately developed a broader interest in economics, finance and public policy. 

My honours year facilitated my recognition that pursuing a PhD in chemistry was not for me (for now, perhaps), so I decided to pursue my interest in public policy by joining the Australian Public Service as a graduate at the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. I have since spent time in a range of roles across transport security, air traffic policy, and infrastructure policy and financing, and am now working in spatial data policy at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

In terms of my career and motivations, I certainly have not ended up where I expected. I would, however, also argue that aiming to only end up where you expect is a somewhat limiting approach to a career. I am broadly motivated by a commitment to make Australia a better place, an eagerness to learn new things, and a drive to help the public service continually improve.

My hobbies include maintaining a small share portfolio, travelling overseas regularly, playing plenty of video games, reading lots of books, and skiing whenever I can.

Area of study

At ANU I studied a Bachelor of Science (Honours) with majors in chemistry and biology, and did my honours year in synthetic chemistry. Since graduating I have completed a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration and am currently being supported to complete advanced programming and data analytics training at work.

Epic fail

My best is probably when I broke my wrist during a high school English speech. It happened during a group presentation (always an ominous thing in high school) where we were severely underprepared and unrehearsed. Through our creative genius I ended up re-enacting a rock climbing accident from Juggling with Mandarins, with astounding and painful accuracy. Our teacher awarded us a solid C and I learnt valuable lessons about being prepared and improvising (safely).

Proudest moment

Focusing post-university, one of my proudest moments was working with my graduate cohort/Social Club at the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities to deliver a fantastic departmental Christmas Party, while also fundraising over $20K for various charities. My pride in-part stems from what we delivered and my role as President helping shape that, but mostly comes from the fact that we worked so well together and maintained a strong culture of collaboration and commitment throughout our graduate year. Achieving a consistently positive culture with any large group is always challenging, so this was great to see!

Top tip

Constantly maintain an attitude that is open to learning new things and accommodating new ideas, and foster an environment around you that enables and empowers others to do the same.