Dr James Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Geoscience Australia
As the nation’s trusted source of information on Australia’s Earth sciences, Geoscience Australia empowers decision making by government, communities and industry. The breadth of our work covers the uniqueness of our island continent, our extensive marine jurisdictions and includes our frozen territories in the Antarctic.
We are inclusive, innovative, respectful and collaborative in leading Earth sciences for government, communities and industry. This contributes to a strong economy, a resilient society and a sustainable environment.
For over 110 years Australia’s prosperity and safety has been shaped by our knowledge of this dynamic landscape. Commonwealth geoscience has played an important role since the formation of the Australian Survey Office in 1910. For example, the nation’s first national topographic mapping program was driven by the need to defend Australia’s people and develop our regional areas. In later years, systematic mapping of the nation’s geology to understand our resource endowment and drive new discoveries has underpinned our successful economy.
We continue to deliver data of enduring value, and advice that helps government, communities and industry to address challenges and enhance opportunities facing Australia now and into the future. In doing so, we make the commitment to respectfully engage and collaborate with First Nations Australians, acknowledging that they are Australia’s original mappers, miners and navigators.
Our work aligns with the National Science and Research Priorities and supports global and domestic government initiatives. It impacts key areas of society in:
We cannot achieve these without an internal commitment to be the best organisation we can be. We will do this by fostering a positive organisational culture, being an employer and partner of choice, continuing to deliver high quality science, and coming up with smarter, faster ways to access and use our data.
A key part of our strategy involves continuing to develop a diverse and inclusive workplace, including through gender equity; we cannot be groundbreaking and successful if we do not draw from the full pool of human talent. Through investing in and celebrating our people, we support the entire organisation to deliver information and knowledge that will help drive Australia’s success.
Our ten-year targets are clear, measurable objectives. In the years out to 2028 we will provide Australia with a new and exciting digital mapping platform, improved positioning and navigation services, analysis-ready Earth observation data for natural resource management, new satellite capabilities, and we will identify new major mineral, energy and groundwater resources. This will contribute to a safer, more prosperous and well-informed Australia.
Dr James Johnson
Chief Executive Officer
We deliver information, advice and services that shape a strong economy, resilient society and sustainable environment.
Australia’s mineral and energy resources are a major contributor to the nation’s wealth, economically and socially; annual export earnings were $320b1 in 2020–21. Understanding Australia’s available resources is a prerequisite for formulating sound policies on resources and land access.
Australia has a significant advantage in the production of resource commodities over other nations. This advantage stems from the rich and diverse mineral and energy endowment, the high quality regional-scale geoscience information that lowers the risks of exploration, advanced exploration, mining and processing technologies, a skilled workforce, generally favourable physical environments, relatively stable economic conditions, an enabling and robust legislative framework and low sovereign risk.
Geoscience Australia enables the transformation and responsible transition of our resources sector helping shape Australia’s future low emissions economy.
The impacts of natural disasters on Australia’s economy, environment and society are significant and include loss of life, loss of property and infrastructure, disruption to business and disruption to our livelihoods. Our cities and regional centres, and their supporting infrastructure, are expanding as populations grow. This increases our exposure and vulnerability to hazards. The forecast cost of disasters is expected to increase with our growing population and valuable assets, expanding into areas vulnerable to hazards and a changing climate.
To be better prepared, and to make informed decisions to reduce disaster risk, Australia depends on availability of hazard, exposure, vulnerability and impact information.
Geoscience Australia provides disaster risk information to help Australians understand the consequences of hazard events, which contributes to more resilient communities now and in the future.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent, which makes water use and management a key challenge. In many parts of Australia, groundwater underpins agriculture, the environment, minerals and energy resource development, and the wellbeing of regional communities.
We need to better understand surface and groundwater systems in order to properly manage our water resources. Understanding the connection between groundwater and surface water systems, and reducing the impact of development on groundwater supply and quality are critical to our water security and regional development.
Geoscience Australia supports the fair sharing of Australia’s water resources for a strong economy, resilient society and sustainable environment. We will demonstrate national leadership in the application of geoscience to understand groundwater systems to support responsible water management.
Australia’s marine jurisdiction is approximately double the size of Australia’s land mass and 4 per cent of the world’s oceans. With increasing global demand for energy, food and security, activity within our marine jurisdiction is becoming increasingly important to our economy. Effective and efficient management of this precious environment relies on baseline mapping, understanding of marine resources and assets, and the ability to measure change over time.
Australia has a vast and rich landscape. Geographic data provides the nation with a changing view of the country’s landscape through time.
Geoscience data and information are a significant national resource with significant enduring value for the Australian community. Knowing when and where events and activities occur is essential for government, communities, industry and researchers to make decisions and improve economic, environmental and social outcomes for Australia.
Geoscience Australia provides national leadership that strengthens location-based decision making through the integration of digital mapping, Earth observations and precise positioning science, data and capabilities.
Geoscientific data and physical collections have enduring value. It is essential that these data and collections are curated correctly, and can be easily understood and accessed by everyone. Data are acquired from platforms including satellites, observatories and laboratory instruments. Data and samples can be integrated to build models of our continent, our Antarctic and island territories and surrounding oceans.
Geoscience Australia delivers world-class, trusted data and platforms and expertise to support high impact geoscience, transparent evidence-based decisions and social licence to operate.
Geoscience Australia also maintains efforts to maximise Australians’ understanding of our geoscientific information and our contribution to their livelihoods. We disseminate geoscientific knowledge in our public outreach programs to ensure that all Australians can better understand the contribution of Earth science and our work to their community.
Since 2001, Geoscience Australia has been the nation’s trusted adviser on the geological and geographical history of Australia.
The changes we study and monitor happen very slowly and are etched in sediment layers and core samples. However, the community we serve and operate within evolves at a much faster pace, one Geoscience Australia is responsive to.
We are proud to be an employer of choice within the scientific and public service community.
Our work is underpinned by a fair, equitable, and transparent approach; one that values diversity and talent and is unrestricted by gender, cultural background, or sexuality.
Geoscience Australia recognises the ongoing knowledge held by First Nations Australians—the original Earth scientists of these lands and waters.
We stand on our integrity every day, shaped by the values of the Australian Public Service.
Our strategy aligns with and supports global and domestic initiatives.
We are committed to building a strong and resilient organisation through our scientific excellence, our data and digital capabilities, our support from stakeholders and our inclusive and positive organisational culture.
To achieve our targets, we must focus on making Geoscience Australia the strongest, most resilient organisation it can be. We will do this through focusing on science excellence, making the most of our data, ensuring we have supportive stakeholders and by enhancing our inclusive and positive organisational culture.
1 Resources and Energy Quarterly, March 2019.
2 Based on historic production and current resources in known producing areas.
4 Ernst & Young (EY), SBAS Test-bed Demonstrator Trial, Economic Benefits Report, 2019.
5 ACIL Allen. The Value of Earth Observations from Space to Australia, 2015.