Professional accreditation

The ASEG Federal Executive is often asked about professional accreditation, and this page, originally a response to a Letter to the Preview Editor, explains the ASEG's position on professional accrediation.

The ASEG is constituted as a not-for-profit society for the promotion of science, which entitles us to certain tax exemption benefits.

However, this status and the associated rules effectively preclude us from granting professional geophysicist accreditation. The Society is set up as a company and like all companies has a constitution by which it must abide. Part of the constitution describes what the company does (its ‘Objects’) in legal terms. The ATO and ASIC use the description of a company’s Objects to classify a company, and the ASEG falls in the Not-for-Profit sub-category of ‘Promotion of Science’. Membership of this sub-category entitles us to tax exemption benefits as long as we adhere to our Objects and comply with a few other ATO applied rules. The resulting conditions placed on ASEG effectively stop us from  accrediting geophysicists.

The rule that is relevant to this question is that groups set up for the Promotion of Science cannot actively promote the professional interests of their Members: https://www.ato.gov.au/Non-profit/Your-organisation/Do-you-have-to-pay-income-tax-/Types-of-income-tax-exempt-organisations/Scientific-organisations/.

The AIG and AusIMM were set up as professional organisations and therefore have no limitation on granting accreditation, but they do not enjoy the same semi-automatic tax benefits of the ASEG. We would encourage all professional geoscientists to belong to one of those two groups as well as the ASEG. The choice of professional association is likely to depend on the
level of activity each has at your local level, although we note that there is a significant difference in fees between the two. Both of the registered professional categories in AIG and AusIMM require a certain level of Professional Development each year in order to maintain competency. It is worth remembering that the conferences, courses, workshops and
even branch meetings that ASEG runs for its Members can count towards meeting those requirements.

In addition, membership of the AIG currently grants competent person (CP) status under JORC and CIM as well as most of the CRIRSCO member authorities. An AusIMM Member is a CP for JORC but needs to be a Chartered Professional in order to be considered a CP for CIM. This will affect anyone working with a TSX based company and having to sign off on NI43-101s. This may change in the future as AIG are discussing a proposal to require anyone writing a public report covering geology, to be a Registered Practising Geoscientist
(AIG) or Chartered Professional (AusIMM). That would include all government reports, both by government and to government.

While we cannot accredit our Members we do strongly believe that our role as a society for the Promotion of Science should be led by improving the technical scientific skills of our Members and for this reason we invest in OZStep, our own distinguished lecturer tour, as well as partnering with SEG and EAGE to bring the SEG DISC and DL and EAGE EET
lectures to as many of our Members as possible. We are also looking to align our education offerings with tertiary institution requirements in order for increased transferability.

Our local branch meetings also provide a great opportunity to improve your technical knowledge across a wide range of geophysical techniques and problems. The Federal Executive are encouraging the States to make their branch meetings available to more Members by webcasting them. The WA Branch have already done this and hopefully we will
see other branches follow suit in the near future.

Kim Frankcombe and Andrew Squelch (on behalf of the ASEG Federal Executive)