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New arrangements for bureau of mineral resources

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PIE92/73GR 13 August 1992


The Federal Minister for Prim ary Industries and Energy, Mr Simon Crean/and the M inister for Resources, Mr Alan Griffiths, today announced a num ber of changes to the operational and adm inistrative arrangem ents for the Bureau of Mineral Resources (BMR).

The M inisters said that in the broad context of resource and environm ental m anagem ent for sustainable developm ent, the G overnm ent was anxious to ensure that scientific support for resource decisions w as provided in the most efficient way.

BMR has long been a central element in providing that support, as well as providing the knowledge base necessary for the continued developm ent of our exploration industries.

H ow ever, in recent years BMR, like national geological survey organisations w orld­ wide, has been asked to do m uch more to help address national and global issues, notably in relation to land m anagem ent and protection of the environm ent. CSIRO has also been developing its research in these fields.

Prelim inary consideration has therefore been given to closer integration of the strategic research and national m apping activities of BMR and those of CSIRO in order to im prove the efficiency of the national research effort and integration of data bases. At the same time consideration has been given to improving the m echanism s for coordinating scientific and econom ic resource inform ation in providing advice to the Government on resource assessment issues.

As a result of these considerations we are announcing a number of m easures, as follows:

1. A n inquiry into the adm inistrative arrangem ents under which the BMR operates, including whether it should be established as a separate Institute w ithin CSIRO or rem ain within the D epartm ent of Primary Industries and Energy (DPIE)



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- the inquiry will be chaired by Dr Max Richards, an Executive Member of A ustralian Mining Industry Council (AMIC) and Board Member of the CSIRO

- term s of reference of the inquiry are attached.

. 2. The resources currently allocated to petroleum and m inerals resource assessment w ithin BMR will be m erged w ith the current Bureau of Rural Resources (BRR) in DPIE to become the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Sciences (ABARS). ABARS will operate as a professionally independent Bureau within DPIE. ABARS will include the National Resource Inform ation Centre (NRIC), which is currently operated jointly by BMR and BRR.

3. A change of nam e of BMR to the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (AGSO) consistent with its contem porary role. ·

4. Within DPIE, an explicit m anagem ent system will be p u t in place to properly link the AGSO scientific m apping activities w ith the resource assessment responsibilities of ABARS.

ABARS and the A ustralian Bureau of A griculture and Resource Economics (ABARE) will provide a full range of scientific and economic resource information to directly service the Ministers for Prim ary Industries and Energy and Resources.

The Ministers said the Government w ould respond fully to the Report of the Review Committee, including consideration of the capital requirem ents for housing the Australian Geological Survey Organisation, as well as any costs associated with changed adm inistrative or staffing arrangem ents.

The Australian Geological Survey Organisation will rem ain in its current accommodation until the Review is completed. In the interim , the Government will commit up to $5m to address accommodation issues, including imm ediate safety concerns in the current BMR building.

The Government is confident that the m easures we have announced today will im prove both the short and long term perform ance of A ustralia's national geoscience effort

For further inform ation: Kristen Barry, Minister's Office, ph. (06) 277 7480



The G overnm ent recognises that the national geological survey organisation is an im portant strategic asset as we approach the 21st century.

It therefore recognises the need to m aintain an integrated and coherent national geological survey organisation with a clear identity.

Any new arrangem ents resulting from the Review w ould build on the largely successful im plem entation of the recommendations of the 1988 W oods Review and will ensure that the resources of the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (AGSO) will rem ain focussed on geoscientific m apping and database developm ent

into the longer term.

The Term s of Reference of the Review are:

1. To exam ine and report on the appropriate composition and structure of the A ustralian Geological Survey Organisation and its relationship to CSIRO research activities, and to the activities of State Geological Survey organisations.

2. O n the basis of the response to T.O.R. 1, to advise on the adm inistrative arrangem ents and geographic location of the geological survey organisation, including w hether it should be established as a separate Institute w ithin CSIRO, rem ain w ithin DPIE, or some other arrangem ent.

3. To exam ine and report on the mechanisms for coordinating geoscientific and resource inform ation from AGSO and CSIRO in providing advice to client departments.

4. To advise on the most appropriate funding arrangem ents for AGSO, taking into account the June 1992 report of the Joint Com m ittee of Public Accounts.

5. To exam ine arrangem ents for reporting and accountability to G overnm ent to ensure the continuing relevance and high quality of AGSO activities.

The review will be conducted by a four person team chaired by Dr Max Richards and including M r G erry Gleeson, the current Chairman of the BMR Advisory Council. Other m em bers will include

· another senior business executive with a resources related background • the Chief Scientist or his nominee.

The review team will consult widely and report to the G overnm ent w ithin 12 months. The report will be made public.

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