Speaker Profile


James Johnson

Chief Executive Officer, Geoscience Australia


Dr Johnson has been the Chief Executive Officer of Geoscience Australia since April 2017. Dr Johnson is a geologist with over 30 years’ experience, including private sector mining and mineral exploration. He has led teams of geoscientists for over 20 years with a range of diverse achievements. These range from discovery of over two million ounces of gold reserves in industry, to national scale pre-competitive geoscience programs that have attracted exploration investment to Australia. Dr Johnson first joined Geoscience Australia in 2006 and in that time has been head of various divisions with diverse duties including carriage of energy and mineral programs. He has also been a member of the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) at the Australian National University since 2017, and a member of the Australian Antarctic Science Council since 2018. Dr Johnson has a Bachelor of Science majoring in Geology from the University of Sydney and a PhD from the Australian National University. Dr Johnson’s vision for Geoscience Australia is one of deploying integrative geoscience for the economic, social and environmental benefit of Australians. He is driving a strong agenda of inclusiveness. He is a member of the Male Champions of Change in STEM, has led Geoscience Australia towards Bronze accreditation in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative, and is driving Geoscience Australia’s engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Creating a location-enabled Australia Business and governments are demanding new opportunities for innovation, efficiency and improved responsiveness, particularly in location-based information. Recent national emergencies such as bushfires, drought and COVID-19 all have long-term effects on our cities, towns, land and environment. These national, place-based challenges require collaborative solutions that must be data-driven, provide insightful analysis, and be easy for anyone, anywhere to use. Ultimately, government needs authoritative timely information to best target investment in communities, respond to and recover from national emergencies, ensure future resilience and to monitor the benefits and outcomes of this investment. Businesses and citizens need timely access to trusted public data to de-risk investment, protect assets, and take part in decision-making for their communities. Geoscience Australia leads national programs with partners across all levels of government and business driving evidence-based decisions through foundation location information, advice and services. From space observation across our landscape through to the depths of our oceans, to precise positioning across our land and maritime zones and natural hazard information, we have expertise to provide the leadership for creating a location-enabled Australia.

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