Strategic Plan 2012-15

About us

Geoscience Australia is a prescribed agency within the Industry portfolio, and our Minister is The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP.

Geoscience Australia studies Earth processes, and is the Government's technical advisor on all aspects of geoscience and custodian of the geographic and geological data and knowledge of the nation.

Major trends that influence Geoscience Australia's priorities include economic growth in the region, population growth in Australia and the surrounding region, the impact of natural hazards, climate change, the availability and efficient use of energy, water and other resources, pressure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in order to mitigate growth in global greenhouse gas levels and regional stability.

The outcome of our work is an enhanced potential for the Australian community to obtain economic, social and environmental benefits through the application of first class research and information.

Government outcome

Informed government, industry and community decisions on the economic, social and environmental management of the nation's natural resources through enabling access to geoscientific and spatial information.


Meeting the geoscience needs of the nation to build Australia's future.


Geoscience Australia is custodian of the geographic and geological data and knowledge of the nation. We create, maintain and disseminate geographic and geological knowledge for the future well being of all Australians.

Valued behaviours


Use our geoscientific information and knowledge to inform evidence-based decision making.


Seek innovation in work practices, tools and technology to continue to build the capability of our people
and organisation.


Strive for excellence and improvement in everything that we do and in the quality of the services we provide.


Ownership of work results, personal actions and being answerable for outcomes.

Internally, our work program is managed and delivered by three science divisions supported by two enabling services branches.

Our plan for success [DOC 60KB].


Geoscience Australia's external stakeholders include:

  • federal, state and local government agencies
  • minerals and petroleum industries
  • emergency services
  • law enforcement agencies
  • the Australian Defence Force
  • primary producers
  • environmental protection agencies
  • telecommunications agencies
  • distributors of remotely sensed data, maps and mapping products
  • civil and environmental planners and resource managers
  • research and educational groups
  • indigenous communities, and
  • those engaged in many other outdoor recreational activities.

Geoscience Australia's Role

Geoscience Australia exists to meet the geoscience information needs of the Australian Government. Its mission is to use geoscientific information and knowledge for the economic, social and environmental benefit of Australia. The current focus of our role is in three main areas: the future energy and resource base of the economy; providing geoscience input to a range of environmental issues; and contributing to community safety through research into natural hazards and their impact on society.

A major focus is the provision of pre-competitive geoscience information in support of and to facilitate energy and mineral exploration (both onshore and offshore Australia), and the provision of advice to the Australian Government on mineral and energy resource related issues. We undertake research for application to future clean energy supplies including carbon capture & storage and geothermal energy. Groundwater research is also a major focus because of its strategic importance to a number of national issues.

Geoscience Australia is also responsible for mapping, modelling and monitoring changes to the Earth and advising how these changes may affect Australian society. This work includes national observatory functions that monitor earthquakes and Earth's magnetic field and national geodetic reference frame for positioning applications. Geoscience Australia undertakes national scale topographic mapping, earth observation and coastal and marine research to address the impacts of natural disasters, the potential impacts of climate change and change in the environment.

Geoscience Australia also partners with AusAID to bring our capabilities to the region.

Recent achievements

Energy Security Program

The five year Energy Security Program was completed in June 2011. Key achievements were:

  • expenditure of more than $600 million offshore in the first three-year term of permits and additional onshore exploration expenditure estimated to be in excess of $300 million
  • discovery of a world-class source rock in the Bight Basin, which has led to the largest work program bid ever received for frontier basin exploration in Australia
  • discovery of the Millungera Basin in north Queensland, which has potential for petroleum, geothermal and other resources.

Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric program

Geoscience Australia, in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO and the Australian National University, have released the following national foundation datasets:

  • national surface hydrography layer (AusHydro1) at 1:250 000 with topological connectivity and directional flow paths
  • digital elevation model-derived stream network at 1:250 000 for modelling
  • national catchment boundaries derived from the 9-second digital elevation model
  • national derived 1-second digital elevation model products.

Strategic Review of GA

A strategic review of Geoscience Australia found that it was a valued whole of government agency that provided important input into a range of significant national challenges and policy issues. The review found no overlap or duplication among GA's activities.