Geospatial Council of Australia

 

SSSI and SIBA|GITA to merge and form the Geospatial Council of Australia

SIBA|GITA and SSSI will merge to form a new united peak body – the Geospatial Council of Australia.

Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger when it was put to the vote today at the SIBA AGM, followed by the SSSI AGM.

As a valued member of SSSI and/or SIBA|GITA you do not need to take any action, as you are automatically welcomed to the Geospatial Council as a foundational member.

The Geospatial Council of Australia will be launched in March 2023, with all individual and organisational members automatically transitioning their memberships across to the new entity.

The inaugural Board will meet in the coming weeks to discuss transition arrangements.

The Board comprises: Peter Woodgate (proposed President); Alistair Byrom and Paul Digney ( proposed Deputy Presidents); Directors Jacinta Burns and Kate Ramsay (nominated by SIBA|GITA); Directors Darren Mottolini and Roshni Sharma (nominated by SSSI), with provision for an additional two directors to be appointed.

More information will be provided to you in coming weeks as we commence preparations to launch the Geospatial Council of Australia.

The Boards of SSSI and SIBA|GITA would like to thank members for their support and engagement during the merger consultation process and look forward to working more closely together as one organisation.

Any questions, please email ceo@sssi.org.au 


BACKGROUND


WHY MERGE? 

Over the past few months SSSI and SIBA|GITA have continued discussions about the potential for merging both organisations. Both Boards have met independently as well as jointly to ensure our values are aligned and priorities compatible.

Our overarching consideration has always been:

  • how can we provide the best value to our members and the greater geospatial sector?
  • how can we as the representative groups for individuals and companies most effectively champion change?
  • how can we reform within our industry which is undergoing rapid growth and advancing technology?  

Both Boards believe merging SSSI and SIBA|GITA is an effective strategy for organisational growth, gaining scale efficiencies and enhancing services and reach for the spatial and surveying related sectors across Australia.

There is an opportunity to merge SSSI and SIBA|GITA and form a new peak body to represent the current and emerging interests of professionals and the industry by drawing on decades of experience, good will and initiatives that support the sector and its professionals to capitalise on opportunities that are surfacing.

This is only possible with the support of our members. 

Two documents have been prepared and circulated to our members regarding the proposed merger:

WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR?

In late 2021, two meetings were held with an external key stakeholder group. This group of senior executives from business, government and academia provided a forum for us to bring together industry thought leaders to evaluate effective ways to best support and nurture the geospatial industry during this time of growth. These discussions reinforced the need to continue our work in the area of workforce development, but also highlighted there are many other areas requiring our attention with the need for one body taking a leadership role in work force development and advocacy on behalf of the sector.

Based on the outcomes of discussions held, a resolution was passed by both Boards independently which saw both organisations agree to proceed with the merger subject to completing the investigation and due diligence (with independent assessment of both entities simultaneously), the development of a communications and engagement plan, governance and operational structures, a value based membership fee model, other income streams and the development of a Business Plan and Transition Plan. 

A Merger Steering Committee and Executive Operational Committee have been established to undertake the planning and project management, in consultation with the two Boards and staff.

Member Consultation Sessions

SSSI and SIBA|GITA members have attended two Consultation sessions over the past couple of months. During the sessions we discussed the reasons why the merger has been proposed, the benefits of forming a new peak organisation representing both individuals and businesses and answered questions from the audience.

 If you missed the sessions, you can access the recordings below.

THE EGM - MEMBERS VOTE IN FAVOUR OF PROGRESSING MERGER DISCUSSIONS

SSSI held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on Tuesday 24 May where members were given the opportunity to vote on several Resolutions to endorse the SSSI Board and Management to continue preparations for the merger. 

An EGM was required as our existing Constitution lacks clauses that allow a merger of any type to take place. In addition, formal support from members is required to continue appropriate due diligence and further progress merger planning. 

A summary of the three resolutions tabled include: 

  1. Changes to the SSSI Constitution which will enable SSSI to amalgamate with another body or group, to take any gift of property and to transfer or purchase assets, property, liabilities etc if SSSI is authorised to amalgamate with another body. 
  2. The amalgamation of the Institute with SIBA|GITA is approved in principle.
  3. SSSI Directors and Management can gain legal and financial advice in preparation of a potential amalgamation.  

The majority of members attending the EGM voted in favour of the proposed changes to be made to the SSSI Constitution and approved SSSI Board and Management to continue discussions with SIBA|GITA for a potential merger to occur. 

It is important to note, this was not a binding vote for the merger to proceed. This vote gives the SSSI Board and Executive members approval to continue planning for a possible merger with SIBA|GITA.  Members will be invited to vote on the proposed merger with SIBA|GITA later in 2022.

Announcement of inaugural President 

The SSSI and SIBA|GITA Boards are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Peter Woodgate as Director and President designate for the proposed new geospatial peak body.

With a space and geospatial career spanning over three decades, Dr Woodgate is currently Chair of SmartSat CRC, Chair of the Steering Committee for the 2030 Space and Spatial Industries Growth Roadmap, Chair of the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network, and Chair of Canthera Discovery (a national cancer therapeutics research organisation). He is a member of the Australian Space Agency’s Space Industry Leaders Forum and a Board member of Geoscape Australia. Dr Woodgate is also an Honorary Fellow of SSSI.

SSSI President Paul Digney said Dr Woodgate was a natural choice as President and would bring a wealth of leadership and best practice governance experience to the Board of the proposed new peak body.

‘It is an exciting time for our sector, and we look forward to capitalising on the emerging opportunities with geospatial being an increasingly important component of the national economy’, says Mr Digney

‘The SSSI Board believes the positive response received at our Extraordinary General Meeting held earlier this year, where members indicated their confidence in us to continue the conversation with SIBA|GITA about a potential merger, was a strong indication of support for the formation of a peak geospatial body’, says Mr Digney.

SIBA|GITA Chair Alistair Byrom said the new Board would benefit greatly from Dr Woodgate’s many years of commercial experience plus his strong business acumen.

‘The time is right to establish a geospatial peak body which truly represents and advocates on behalf of individuals and organisations and is a champion for positive change within our sector’, says Mr Byrom.

The merger of the two organisations will be voted on by members at the SSSI AGM on 21 November 2022 and the SIBA|GITA AGM also on 21 November 2022.  If the vote is positive, the inaugural Board will consist of representatives from both the current SSSI and SIBA|GITA Boards, other esteemed Members as well as independent Directors that will help guide the development of the new organisation.

FAQs

We have collated a number of the questions received during Consultation sessions and via email and phone into one location for easy reference.

Click here to view the Q & A document.

 

If you have queries about any aspect of the proposed new organisation, please contact consultation@sssi.org.au.