Australian Government Obligations

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Australian Government obligations for earth monitoring activities within Geoscience Australia include:

Geodesy and Global Navigation Satellite System Networks (GNSS)

  • Geodesy is specifically mentioned in the Administrative Arrangements Orders for the Department of Resources Energy and Tourism: 'Geoscience research and information services including geodesy, mapping, remote sensing and land information co-ordination'
  • Geoscience Australia has a role and mandate under the National Measurement Act 1960 to:
    • operate the Australian Fiducial Network (AFN) to appropriate standards
    • ensure that key Continuous GNSS (and other Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) measured) reference sites across Australia that are operated by other agencies, such as state survey authorities, are appropriately linked to the AFN.
  • Geoscience Australia is the national verifying authority for Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994 (GDA94) positions.

Geomagnetism

Geomagnetism falls under the definition of the term geoscience in the Administrative Arrangement Orders that pertain to Geoscience Australia's parent department, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. Geoscience Australia is the national agency responsible for monitoring and modelling the magnetic field in the Australian region. This work forms the basis of regional and international geomagnetic reference field models which represent the geomagnetic declination on land and at sea in the Australian region. Up-to-date declination values are a requirement for safe navigation using a magnetic compass, including the carrying of nautical and aeronautical charts marked with declination, under the:
  • International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, which came into force in 1933, and to which Australia is a signatory
  • Convention on International Civil Aviation, which came into force in 1944, and to which Australia is a signatory
  • Australian Navigation Act, 1912
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Marine Orders, Part 21.
Geoscience Australia's mandate for monitoring and modelling the magnetic field in the Australian region is also underpinned by the needs of major government and industry clients for:
  • accurate models of the magnetic field for navigation and geophysical exploration
  • calibration of compasses.

Geophysical Network

  • Geoscience is mentioned in the Administrative Arrangements Orders for the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
  • Agreements with States and Territories for the provision of equipment and operation of the JUMP (Joint Urban Monitoring Program) Network
  • Obligations under the ATWS (Australian Tsunami Warning System) project, Geomagnetism project, RVO (Rabaul Volcanological Observatory) project and the Risk Research group.

Nuclear Monitoring

  • The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Act 1998, of which a number of key sections have entered into force, is the principle piece of legislation underpinning Australia's obligations to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
  • Geoscience Australia conducts certain nuclear monitoring activities on behalf of the Australian Government under a Letter of Understanding with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Earthquake and Tsunami Warning

  • Geoscience is mentioned in the Administrative Arrangement Orders for the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.
  • 2005 Federal Government Decision to establish a tsunami warning system for Australia and contribute towards warnings in the Indian and Pacific Oceans
  • Long term agreement with Emergency Management Australia to advise them of earthquakes that could impact Australia or Australian interests abroad
  • Public expectation that they will be advised of the occurrence and severity of an earthquake in Australia.

Topic contact: feedback@ga.gov.au Last updated: May 8, 2013