Zane ingrained, put heart and soul into UQ experience

4 November 2020

Zane Higgins recently graduated from The University of Queensland with much more than a Bachelor of Commerce and Economics and a career path with the Australian Tax Office – he also developed leadership skills and strong connections through his involvement with the Goorie Berrimpa Student Collective and student politics.

Proud of his Torres Strait Islander heritage, Zane became an officer with Goorie Berrimpa and is still involved in its organisation.

He was proud to offer an Indigenous perspective as a key speaker during a recent King George Square protest against study fee hikes and education budget cuts.

“Fee hikes are damaging to all students, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, which is something that I feel like a lot of the Collective can empathise with,” he says.

His passion to fight for Indigenous issues also fostered his support for the protests supporting Black Lives Matter and Climate Action.

“With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander connection to the land, we make sure we live in a sustainable way, so the Collective is united behind climate protests.

“When they had the big Black Lives Matter protests, we got heaps of engagement, organised signage, discussed how we felt about it and went to the protests together … it was a good community activity which brought everyone closer on what is such a big issue for Indigenous people in Australia.”

Zane also speaks highly of three internship opportunities arranged through UQ and the CareerTrackers organisation.

“I was able to intern twice with fertiliser company Incitec Pivot and one of their managers was a great mentor who went out of her way to give me exposure to the business at every point of the supply chain,” he says.

“I was doing projects which felt meaningful to the business and had the legacy potential to add value in years to come.

“My CareerTrackers internship with Westpac gave me a feel for the corporate operations of a prestige Big 4 bank … I was able to understand how the business worked and helped out with spreadsheet projects.”

Zane has fond memories of his membership of the UQ team for last year’s UniSport Australia Indigenous Nationals multisport event in Perth, featuring competition across volleyball, netball, touch and basketball.

“This is a great event because sport is so popular in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. You do training with your team before the event and then travel with them too.

“It’s also an opportunity to connect with people from universities around Australia, with games held in a good-natured way … last year UQ won its first event, in volleyball, so it was good to be part of that.

“One of the best things about Uni is making friends who I know that I will be friends with for a long time.

“UQ Economics Society events also proved useful to create meaningful social links with other students, who otherwise would have been just faces in a crowded tutorial room.”

Zane started a cadetship with the ATO two years ago and will continue this until he starts a full-time role with the organisation’s graduate program.

Professor Bronwyn Fredericks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) said “it was great to see Zane taking up opportunities on offer at UQ, along with his studies".

"Everything he has engaged in has contributed to help shape and build his knowledge, experience and skills.

“Now that Zane has graduated, we look forward to seeing his ongoing participation in the community and how his career progresses.”