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Geography: Shaping Australia's Future

26 Nov 2018 1:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The Australian Geography Strategic Plan, launched November 22, says "Australia should enhance & capitalise on existing skills/expertise in geographic information systems (GIS)/big data to address the challenges of our region & the emergence of the ‘China Century’”.

RGSQ is a sponsor of the plan, with Dr. Iraphne Childs, RGSQ President, who represents the Society on the Australian Academy of Science National Committee, attending the launch of the strategic plan in Sydney on 22 November.

The plan presents the state of play of geography as a discipline in Australia, provides a unified vision for Australian geography over the next decade and offers a framework for engaging research, teaching and industry that aligns strategically with contemporary social, economic and environmental challenges of our region.

Addressing twenty-first century problems of sustainable development, climate change, regional development, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss necessitates an increasingly whole-of-government, industry and academia approach. The breadth and depth afforded by geographical understandings to these problems strongly positions Australian geographers to provide evidence-based research—informing and advancing innovative policy and practice. Given the need for an integrated approach, it is recommended that Australian governments at all levels better understand how Geography as a discipline enhances complex, multi-sectoral policy decisions by integrating knowledge across natural and built environments, society and the humanities through its unique perspectives of space, place and the environment.

Key recommendations in the plan are:

  • That the significant role that Geography plays in schools, universities, research organizations, government and industry, and the contribution of the discipline to Australia’s society and economy, is enhanced;
  • That the work of Australian geographers is increasingly cited and referenced in policy and strategic documents;
  • That there are a greater number of scholarships for graduate geography students to pursue research in government priority areas;
  • That the National Committee for Geographical Sciences works with the Australian Academy of Science and other stakeholders to enhance school geography education (for example, by encouraging or making compulsory geography study to Year 10);
  • That the Australian Bureau of Statistics recognises Geography as a discipline in both the Fields of Research Codes and the Field of Education Codes. Not doing so places Geography at a disadvantage compared to other disciplines, weakening its identity both within and outside universities.

Reference: National Committee for Geographical Sciences (NCGS),Australian Academy of Science, Canberra

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