CEO's Report November 2018


  Peter Olah


Over the last several months, I have spent a lot of time on the road (and in planes and airports) travelling around Australia, attending our SSSI Regional Conferences and other events, meeting with our SSSI members, and discussing the future with our SSSI Committees and Commissions.

I owe warm thanks and congratulations to the organisers and corporate supporters of these events – each has offered a unique, relevant and thought-provoking program.

Anyone who has attended any of these events must be struck by what an innovative group of professionals this is! Each and every day, you shape the data that informs the decision and helps improve the lives of every Australian.

Sometimes though, in shaping the data that defines the where in Australia, we can neglect defining the vital importance of the professionals delivering that data.

That’s why, in Adelaide earlier this year, the leadership of SSSI came together for two days to outline a vision and a way forward for SSSI towards 2021. They wanted to answer the question “what will SSSI become to deliver fully for our innovative membership?”

They defined a new Strategic Roadmap for SSSI which encompasses the biggest change program in SSSI’s history.

A Growing Membership
The only reason for SSSI’s existence is to make our members’ lives, careers and professional relationships, better and more productive. Delivering better value for our current and future members – being an active partner, working with them in every stage, through every transition of their professional life, is at the heart of SSSI’s future. This is our number one focus.

During 2018-19 we are undertaking several projects to commence the complete rebuild of our member services. By the end of June next year, we will:

  • Research our current and prospective memberships, including those not traditionally viewed as part of the sector 
  • Rollout improved member offerings with an initial focus on Young Professionals and Women in Spatial
  • Improve our current membership structure and how it interacts with the certification program
  • Commence targeted trials for a robust and attractive certification program across all streams
  • Deliver targeted programs to maximise young professional membership including better pathways for student membership
  • Publish a national events calendar.

There is a significant body of work here and some genuine challenges to overcome. And it is just the start of three years of improvement and growth which will positively impact every SSSI member.

Leading Through Advocacy and Communication
Any successful and influential national body, which represents key professions across the Australian economy, must leverage that influence to build support and recognition for its members. This comes only through well structured, productive and consistent communication and advocacy.

SSSI recognises that we must do better in this area, which is why it is a major focus for the current year. During this financial year we will:

  • Design and launch a new Body of Knowledge initiative
  • Deliver a whole-of-organisation communications plan
  • Deliver a national public policy platform as the basis for all advocacy efforts
  • Deliver a national advocacy program with a focus on informing and improving the policy directions of Federal and State Governments.

Our targets here are sky-high: we will become one of the very best national member organisations for communications and advocacy outcomes.

Productive Partnerships
Of course, SSSI doesn’t work in a vacuum. We are part of a huge ecosystem of people and organisations right across the Australian community with a stake in spatial information. Importantly, as the national professional association, we are best placed to bring this ecosystem together for key initiatives to benefit our members, professions, industries and Australia.

To start this process, we will during 2018-19:

  • Rebuild our Sustaining Partnership program to deliver longer term strength and value to all parties           
  • Actively build partnering opportunities with other member organisations which deliver value to both sets of members.

A Viable and Stable SSSI
All of this is impossible if SSSI - the business of the Institute - is not strong and stable enough to make it happen. Good governance and financial strength may not be top of our members’ wish lists, but without them we cannot deliver the things which are.

To ensure this solid base, in this financial year we will:

  • Review the current governance processes to ensure timely and strategically-focused information for improved decision-making
  • Revise our staff structures to ensure relevance and fitness for purpose  
  • Rationalise our internal policy base
  • Implement a zero-based budget nationally
  • Deliver a best-in-class suite of technical platforms suitable for our tech savvy membership.

Where Are We Now?
This is a tight and ambitious plan of work, with 17 change projects - 17 project teams - active right now. This is for the long haul - it is year one of three years of change and growth.

And we must deliver all this change whilst never losing our focus on delivering for our members every day.

To be successful, it will involve all SSSI leaders, committees, commissions and staff, and many SSSI members.

So, my request to all SSSI members is this: ask questions, be a critical friend, and above all - get involved.

Together we will make SSSI one of Australia’s best membership organisations.



Peter Olah
Chief Executive Officer
Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI)

Telephone:  +61 7 3371 5059
 Address:  64 Sylvan Road, Toowong, QLD, 4066  |