Our Corporate Plan

Corporate Plan 2017-18 to 2020-21


Chief Executive Officer's foreword

Geoscience Australia has been the nation's trusted advisor on the geological and geographical history of Australia since 1946. At that time, the Australian Government recognised the need to locate and assess the nation's natural resources, and undertake fundamental mapping work for national development and growth. Separate agencies undertook this work for more than 50 years before joining in 2001 to form Geoscience Australia, bringing together the nation's expertise in geology, geophysics, geodesy, satellite imagery, and topographic mapping.

Today, our work covers the Australian continent, Australia's marine jurisdiction, and Australia's territories in Antarctica. We apply our geoscientific capabilities to the opportunities and challenges that face the nation: maximising value from our abundant minerals and energy resources; providing the fundamental geographic information to develop the nation; sustainably managing a vast marine environment; securing water on a dry continent; protecting communities from natural disasters; and operating an integrated network of geophysical observatories to collect and distribute nationally beneficial data and  information.

Statement of preparation

As the accountable authority of Geoscience Australia, I am pleased to present Geoscience Australia's 2017-18 Corporate Plan covering the four-year period to 2020-21, as required under section 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

Dr James Johnson
Chief Executive Officer
18 August 2017

Strategic Direction


Geoscience Australia is Australia's pre-eminent public sector geoscience organisation and the nation's trusted advisor on the geology and geography of Australia.

Our purpose is to apply science and technology to address important national issues and deliver a broad range of products that assist government and the community to make informed decisions about the use of natural resources, management of the environment, and community safety.

Strategic Priorities and Objectives

Geoscience Australia's work program is delivered through six key strategic priority areas:

Geoscience Australia's Vision

Guiding the delivery of Geoscience Australia's work program is the organisation's vision 'One Geoscience Australia'. This vision is supported by four pillars that provide the foundation of how the organisation conducts its science.

The four pillars of 'One Geoscience Australia':

Pursuing Science Excellence

  • Maintain deep domain knowledge of Earth systems and the science of Australia’s lands and waters
  • Collaborate internally and externally to enhance excellence
  • Provide national geoscience leadership
  • Supply authoritative and independent advice to government

Maximising Data Potential

  • Leverage our vast data holdings to solve geoscience challenges
  • Accelerate engagement with high performance computing
  • Provide transparent, repeatable results with quantified uncertainty
  • Deliver quality data to a broader cross-section of society through modernised data platforms

Ensuring Supportive Stakeholders

  • Maintain high regard from our existing stakeholders
  • Seek to engage with potential new stakeholders
  • Plan systematic and deliberate stakeholder engagements for maximum impact
  • Raise our profile with a broader cross-section of society

Fostering Positive Organisational Culture

  • Collaborate to provide value to Australia through the development and application of high quality geoscience
  • Continue to cultivate an inclusive culture
  • Promote innovation
  • Develop a culture attuned to the needs of the users of our work

Financial Management

Geoscience Australia is committed to meeting whole-of-government priorities and ensuring the provision of services is as efficient and well-targeted as possible. In this context, Geoscience Australia is improving operational efficiencies, reducing administrative overheads and delivering services within a governance framework that demonstrates the benefits and value of the organisation's work.

GEOSCIENCE AUSTRALIA: Comprehensive income statement
(source: Portfolio Budget Statements 2017-18)



2018-19 Forward estimate

2019-20 Forward estimate

Forward estimate


Employee benefits












Depreciation and amortisation






Other expenses






Total expenses







Sale of goods and rendering of services












Total own-source revenue






Net cost of/(contribution by) services






Revenue from Government (Appropriation*)






Total comprehensive income/(loss)






This approved loss relates to the straight-lining of the Geoscience Australia Symonston, ACT building lease in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards, offset by depreciation/amortisation expenses previously funded through revenue appropriations.

Geoscience Australia Overview

Geoscience Australia is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity within the Industry, Innovation and Science portfolio.

Stakeholders and Partnerships

Geoscience Australia works in partnership with governments, industry, publically funded research agencies and academia to provide specialist expertise and information to support the delivery of Australian Government services.

Budget and Funding

Geoscience Australia has a 2017-18 appropriation budget of $151.1 million. This includes the injection of $100.5 million over four years for the 'Exploring for the Future programme' as announced in the May 2016 Budget and $12.0 million over three years to test a Satellite-Based Augmentation System as part of the 'National Positioning Infrastructure Capability', that was included in the 2016-17 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Geoscience Australia's appropriation budget drops to $117.9 million in 2020-21. Refer to Section 4: Financial Management for further details.


Geoscience Australia has a highly educated and skilled workforce, spanning a number of specialist areas, including:

  • Geoscientists such as geologists, geophysicists, geochronologists and geochemists
  • Spatial professionals such as cartographers, surveyors and remote sensing experts
  • Data management professionals
  • Educators and science communicators
  • ICT specialists including experts in high performance data and computing, mathematics, engineers, graphic designers
  • Corporate and management professionals including human resource, finance and communication specialists.

Geoscience Australia has an average staffing level of 600. Results of the 2016 Australian Public Service Employee Census provide supporting evidence of a highly satisfied, motivated, experienced and qualified workforce.

Information Communications Technology

Geoscience Australia's Information Communications Technology (ICT) vision brings together the best of ICT and the best of geoscience and geospatial developments that will deliver optimal outcomes. This vision extends beyond the boundaries of Geoscience Australia to emerging national research and cloud infrastructures that include data, compute, storage, software, networks and people. To view the full ICT strategy please visit Geoscience Australia¿s website.

Risk Management

The management of risk within the organisation is in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and is consistent with AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management - Principles and guidelines.

Geoscience Australia undertakes risk workshops and reviews on risk management. The effective application of risk management improves decision making and facilitates better outcomes for the Australian Government.