Managing Australia's Marine Jurisdictions


Australia’s marine jurisdiction is about 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.

Our Role

Geoscience Australia supports the effective, efficient and sustainable management of the marine environment through the provision geoscience data, information and authoritative advice.

10 Year Targets

  • We will map and understand Australia’s seabed to support sustainable management of our marine assets and support rapid growth of Australia’s Blue Economy to $100b per year
  • We will deliver coastal landform data to inform management of the coastal zone and build resilience to the impacts of a changing climate
  • We will use geoscientific data to define Australia’s maritime boundaries and underpin the legal and regulatory authority for our marine jurisdiction.

Work Activities and Capability

Secure Marine Jurisdiction for Australia

Australia’s marine jurisdiction supports a wide range of marine industries that underpin Australia’s energy, food and border security. Defensible enforcement of Commonwealth, state, territory and international laws, and permitted activities in Australia’s marine jurisdiction, all depend on access to authoritative digital mapping of maritime boundaries generated by this program.

The Secure Marine Jurisdiction for Australia program provides technical advice on the Law of the Sea to support Australian Government domestic and foreign policy positions.

Marine Geoscience to Support the Blue Economy

The Marine Geoscience to support the Blue Economy program aims to harness the collective value of seabed and coastal mapping data that is provided from offshore industries, government and university sectors for the benefit of the Australian economy. This program adds value to that data by building a fundamental knowledge base of Australia’s marine and coastal environments across our vast marine jurisdiction, including the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The effective management of marine and coastal environments relies on the baseline mapping of natural resources and assets and the ability to measure change over time, as provided through this program.

Strategic Priorities and Performance Criteria

Geoscience Australia’s work program impacts six key areas of society. For each area, the environmental context, the role of the organisation, the long-term targets, and the work program activities and capabilities are described.

Geoscience Australia’s performance will be assessed using a number of qualitative and quantitative measures to communicate a comprehensive view of performance that will be presented in the organisation’s annual performance statement. Performance measures will include assessment against key work deliverables, key performance indicators and case studies.

Performance Measures 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022 2022-2023
Secure Marine Jurisdiction for Australia        
Program deliverables        
Deliver a collaborative program of support for Pacific island countries to access their maritime jurisdictional entitlements under international law    
Provide support for Australian Government implementation of Treaty with Timor-Leste      
Deliver updated maritime boundaries in international standard format      
Register of legal instruments that give legal certainty to the digital mapping boundaries of Australia’s marine jurisdictions    
Marine Geoscience to Support the Blue Economy        
Program deliverables        
Deliver marine and coastal geoscience data, derived products and advice that informs evidence-based decisions for the management of Australia’s marine jurisdictions, including the Australian Antarctic Territory
Case Study
Use of openly available, authoritative maritime boundaries to provide certainty for investment in offshore areas
This case study would use examples demonstrating how the process by which Australia’s maritime boundaries are produced and made available has been used to provide certainty for where economic activities can safely occur in the marine jurisdiction.
Information would be drawn from domestic and overseas work with Australian Government partners, in particular the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.