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Media Releases

News I Media Releases

The President of the Australian Geoscience Council, Sandra Occhipinti, announces the evolution of the National Geotourism Strategy to Geotourism Australia. Read the media release

Through its National Geotourism Strategy the AGC has joined with the Indonesian Geoparks Network in signing a Memorandum of Co-Operation between the the two groups to build a co-operative relationship to foster Geotourism. Read the media release

David Cohen, President of the AGC, has formally released the latest in the series of 5 yearly reviews into the Australian Tertiary Education  systems coverage of Geoscience subjects. The report shows a sustained and long term decline in Geoscience enrolments, both in Australia and overseas. As Geoscience will be key to unlocking a low carbon economy, this trend must be reversed. Australia, as a “clever country” and one where Geoscience skills have traditionally been of  a world class standard must lead the way. Read the media release

The President of the Australian Geoscience Council (AGC), Professor David Cohen, has
welcomed the release of the Australian Government’s THRIVE 2030 Visitor Economy Strategy. This strategy will assist
the tourism industry and governments in planning for sustainable long-term growth of the visitor economy over the
next decade. See full release.

Teacher and geoscientist, Ms Suzy Urbaniak was WA’s nominee in the “Australian of the Year – Local Heroes” award category. Read the Media Release Geoscientist_Local Hero WA Media release 27 Jan 2020.

AGC has strongly welcomed commitments from both the Coalition Government and Australian Labor Party to boost support for the exploration of ‘next generation’ hidden mineral deposits in Australia. Read the Media Release (19 February 2019).

Covering future heat, resources booms and busts and Geoscience beyond dinosaurs, read media releases from AGC’s inaugural Convention “Big Issues and Ideas in Geoscience” in October 2018.

Participate in the second ever #OzRockStocktake, the annual social media ‘stocktake’ of Australian geology.

The Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) and Australian Academy of Science (AAS) have opened a new
round of major grants to support early-career Australian and New Zealand Geoscientists to travel overseas
to work with global scientific experts, and progress research, in a wide range of critical Geoscience subject
areas. Read the media release.

‘Social media street party’ to be held on Geoscientists Day (Sunday, 2 April) to celebrate
geoscientists and their contribution to society; engage the Australian public in this fascinating field of
science; and promote geoscience as a fulfilling career path. Read the media release.

Australasian Rock Researchers Getting Ready to Go

Five passionate early-career geoscientists from Australia and New Zealand will share a total travel grant funding pool of over $22,000 to support their world-class research overseas.

Almost 50 applications were received for the five substantial travel grants, with applicants requesting funds to conduct geoscientific research and attend conferences in places such as Greenland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Chile, Canada, Croatia and Japan. Applications were received from geoscientists within Australia and New Zealand who are members of the geoscience organisations that form the Australian Geoscience Council (AGC).

AGC President Dr Bill Shaw said, “This is the second year of the 34th IGC Travel Grant Scheme and the Australian Geoscience Council and the Australian Academy of Science are pleased to be stimulating exciting research and offering opportunities for young people to extend networks, knowledge and experience as well as collecting good scientific data in the field and in international laboratories. We will be sending these researchers on trips to Canada, the UK, the USA and Italy, and bringing one from New Zealand to Australia.”

Professor Sue O’Reilly, who represents the Academy of Science, said, “The applications for this round of the travel grant scheme were inspirational and included requests for support to do ground-breaking research. It is important to provide support for early-career researchers, allowing them to have the opportunity to study rocks in diverse environments and encourage them to make important contributions to the advancement of geoscientific knowledge.”

The winners will be travelling the world this year collecting data and doing experiments in state-of-the art laboratories. At various conferences, they will be informing international attendees about their progress and about the exciting new discoveries they have made in their current research, while developing opportunities for future collaboration.

The Travel Grants have been made possible through a trust fund, administered by AGC and the Academy, set up after the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane in August 2012.

Read about the successful grant recipients and their amazing range of exciting projects here.

CONTACT: AGC President Bill Shaw on 0438 010 851

22nd January 2017

AGC urges Governments to invest in UNCOVER, a world-first initiative to help secure the ‘next generation’ of hidden mineral deposits essential to Australia’s continued prosperity and resource security. Read the media release (11 October 2016).

We welcomed the newest rock to the National Rock Garden in Canberra on 9 October, a piece of Sydney from Moruya. Read the media release (9 October 2016).

Earth Science Week 2016 runs from 9-15 October. Read our media release on an Earth Science Week initiative to start to track Australia’s vast geological heritage (6 October 2016).

Use the link to read the Media Release about Geologist’s Day being celebrated around the world on Sunday 3rd April 2016.

From minerals to magma: grants send geoscientists to explore the planet

Unlocking the mineral secrets of Papua New Guinea, the long-term evolution of the Earth and using drones to map past climate change are just a few of the projects to win funding under the Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) and the Australian Academy of Science’s inaugural geoscience travel grant scheme.

Eleven early-career geoscientists from Australia and New Zealand will share a total grant funding pool of $30,000 to support their world-class research overseas.

AGC President Dr Bill Shaw said: “We were overwhelmed by the number and quality of applications. We have awarded grants to support work that impacts on a variety of geoscience disciplines, from astrobiology to magma transport in volcanoes and how it impacts on volcanic hazards and ore deposit formation.”

Geoscientist Dr Phil McFadden, who represents the Academy on the travel grant scheme, said: “Geoscience is a global endeavour and it is important for early-career researchers to have the opportunity to study rocks in diverse environments if they are to make important contributions to the advancement of knowledge.”

The winners were chosen from a field of more than 100 applications seeking travel assistance for international fieldwork, to conduct experiments and learn new techniques in state-of-the-art laboratories around the world, or to attend international conferences.

Six applications were selected as having the greatest merit and these applicants will receive the full amount requested in their applications with a maximum grant of $5,000. A further five were awarded a portion of the amount requested to support their travel plans.

The Travel Grants have been made possible through a trust fund administered by AGC and the Academy, which was set up after the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane in August 2012.

Read about the successful grant recipients here.

Gold and Two Silver Medals for Australia!

Australian students return from Brazil with Gold and Silver medals won at Earth Science Olympiads.

Gold medal winner Zoe Thompson, a student of Redlands School in Sydney, along with her three fellow team members, Sacha Mann from Girton Grammar School in Bendigo, Jade Pham from James Ruse Agricultural High School in Sydney, and Tim Hume from Mansfield Secondary College in Victoria, returned to Australia recently from Pocos de Caldos, Brazil where they attended the Ninth International Earth Science Olympiad. The students also returned with second(Jade Pham) and third place awards (Sacha Mann) for team- based activities and fieldwork.

As well as working in international collaborative teams on real world problems the students also completed individual examinations in theory and practical work spanning all areas of earth sciences including geology, geophysics, meteorology, oceanography, astronomy and environmental science.

“It is the first time Australia has sent a nationally selected team to compete at the International

Earth Science Olympiad, and I think the other nations were a bit stunned that as newcomers we

did so well,” says Greg McNamara, Earth and Environmental Science Program Director at

Australian Science Innovations, who travelled with the team.

“At a time when maths and science education is under scrutiny in Australia, our team’s

achievement is inspirational, and I hope it will encourage many other students to look at earth

and environmental science with new eyes,” says McNamara.

Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) President, Bill Shaw, said it was terrific to see Australian students excelling in Earth Science on the world stage. ‘It’s outstanding to see the success of these young students. These young people have had a fantastic opportunity to use their knowledge and skills in Earth Science at a world level and to work collaboratively with students from other countries to address real issues. The Australian Geoscience Council and its member societies, representing over 8000 geoscientists, are pleased to have been supporters of the Australian Earth and Environmental Science Olympiad program since its inception. We encourage all students to get involved and learn about the world around them, and we encourage all parents and teachers to support their children and students to achieve their very best.’

The Australian Earth Science Olympiad team members beat over 300 other students from schools around Australia to be able to represent Australia. After sitting special exams at school, twenty of the highest achievers were selected to attend a Summer School held in Canberra in January. From there the top four students were chosen to become the Australian Earth Science Olympiad team members.

The Earth Science Olympiad is one of four International Science Olympiads held this year; the other competitions were Chemistry, Biology and Physics. The Australian Science Olympiad Competition is all about unlocking potential and challenging students to be the best they can be.

Media Enquiries: contact: Dr.Bill Shaw (AGC President) 0438 010 851

The Australian Science Olympiads Program is supported by the Australian Government

Department of Education and Training, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities, and the Australian

National University. The inaugural Australian Earth and Environmental Science Olympiad

Competition is an Inspiring Australia initiative supported by the Australian Government through

the Department of Industry and Science.

Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) is the Peak Council of geoscientists in Australia. It represents eight major Australian geoscientific societies with a total membership of over 8000 individuals comprising industry, government and academic professionals in the fields of geology, geophysics, geochemistry, mineral and petroleum exploration, environmental geoscience, hydrogeology and geological hazards.

Australian Geoscience Council to recognise Roy Woodall with inaugural National Geoscience Champion award
In recognition of his contribution to geoscience in Australia, Roy Woodall AO FAusIMM has been unanimously elected as the inaugural National Geoscience Champion by the Australian Geoscience Council (AGC).

The award presentation will be made to Mr Woodall at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC 2015) in Melbourne during the ‘AusIMM Explorers’ Forum – Challenges and Opportunities’ which is also known as ‘The Woodall Symposium’. Mr Woodall will provide the keynote address on ‘Science, Trust, Persistence and Discoveries’.

Roy Woodall’s scientific approach to exploration contributed to many significant ore discoveries in Australia. Discoveries include the Kambalda nickel field (1966), uranium at Yeelirrie (1971), the Olympic Dam copper-gold-uranium deposit (1975), the St Ives gold field (1980), the East Spar oil-condensate field (1993), plus contributions to many others.

Roy set high scientific standards for the recording of scientific data, using the best equipment and analytical facilities available at the time, leaving a significant legacy of scientific methodologies and successes. Roy’s standard of training and mentorship of other geoscientists has advanced the capabilities of Australia’s mining and exploration industries and the development of our nation.

Recognition of Roy Woodall AO FAusIMM as a National Geoscience Champion is made by the AGC on behalf of its eight member organisations, representing over 8,000 geoscientists in Australia. This prestigious honour will be accorded to living geoscientists for contributions to the science, craft and art of geoscience by way of their technical, leadership, mentoring and collegial endeavours.

You are invited to attend the complimentary forum and join us in congratulating Mr Woodall on this extraordinary achievement. Hear him speak firsthand and gain further insights from other leading geoscience industry experts. The session is complimentary to attend and is on Tuesday 10 November 2015, 9.00 am – 11.00 am at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Register at

For more information, please contact:

Dr Bill Shaw


Australian Geoscience Council

P: 0438 010 851



Would the current proposed Resource Super Profits Tax (RSPT) be under consideration if we were not experiencing a commodities boom? The resources industry is notoriously cyclical and the irony is that the RSPT may well have missed a major part of the current boom by the time it comes into effect in July 2012.

A successful mineral resources industry has developed in Australia through the evolution over more than a century of a reward system that is seen to justify the very high level of risk that is intrinsic to this industry sector, and that at the same time has provided for a fair apportionment of wealth to the nation. Current rhetoric implies that the Australian public is missing out on the present buoyancy in the market as though state royalties as well as company and individual taxation were not already in place, and as if their quanta do not reflect current levels of volumes and profits respectively.

The proposed RSPT will at best cause significant delays in decisions affecting both hard and soft rock mining and onshore LNG production (particularly coal seam gas) with respect to capital raisings, capital investment, development and exploration. At worst, it will lead to mining, extraction and related processing activities being preferentially developed offshore. Probably the most important impact will arise from the retrospective nature of the tax which must inevitably lead to a loss of confidence in Australia as a stable jurisdiction for any level of substantial investment, and this re-assessment may not just apply to the resources industry.

As an adjunct to the RSPT, it is proposed by the federal government that 40% of the tax value of resource company losses on a project be returned to investors. The application of this, as with the Super Tax itself, is a complex taxation area but essentially, by supporting less competitive or marginal projects, it distorts the market to the long term detriment of the industry as a whole. This is absolutely not an appropriate area for government intervention and the use of public funds. Furthermore as we are seeing, Government policies change and investors will be acutely aware of the risk that the Government may not deliver on its promise to return losses at the proposed rate at an indeterminate point in the future, effectively negating any reassurance the ‘risk sharing’ arrangement may otherwise provide.

The Henry Tax Review has recommended a resource exploration cash rebate rather than a flow-through share scheme which was supported by the Federal Labor Party as a firm pre-election commitment. While this rebate would assist the small explorers to stretch their exploration dollar, it is the raising of the original equity finance that is the greater hurdle for these explorers. This will only be marginally affected, if at all, by an exploration rebate.

Mineral exploration is a high risk process. Most exploration projects fail and it is the relatively rare outstanding successes that encourage the risk taking inherent in the process. The high returns on substantial initial capital investment made by successful projects are seen to justify the overall expenditure on exploration and to encourage the effective planning and execution of exploration activities. If the prospect of high returns is to be neutralised by a new tax, it seems simplistic to offset this by refunding 40% of expenditure on failed projects. We wish to see encouragement of effective exploration by rewarding success, not simply subsidising activity.

Systems, in this case the taxation system, can always be improved. If reform of the resources portion of the tax system is to be undertaken, it should have commenced through a comprehensive process of consultation and debate rather than a policy decision delivered with neither adequate communication of the details nor full consideration of the ramifications of this approach. These particularly include, we would suggest, the perception of a marked increase in Australia’s sovereign risk. The final form of the complex details of the tax is at least a year away, but whatever the form much damage has been done to the image of Australia as a sound and predictable place in which to invest.

Dr Michael D Leggo


Email: Tel: 0401 380 436

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