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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3180..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

It is important because registered and licensed surveyors are the only ones allowed to effect land boundary definition and land identification surveys, and that is something, obviously, that affects everyone in our community. It is also important because of legislative requirements such as the Real Property Act and requirements for rigorous examination procedures conducted by boards of surveyors; for example, in New South Wales the Board of Surveyors and Spatial Information, BOSSI.

The Institution of Surveyors Australia, Canberra Division, has been the long-recognised professional body, since 1960 in the ACT, representing surveyors. I understand and I have been told that the minimum requirement for membership is a bachelor's degree from a recognised university. Before university tuition became the norm, surveyors trained under an articles system. Although this system has finished, there are still many practising surveyors who qualified under this system.

Boards of surveyors around Australia typically were or are made up of five to seven members, with the surveyor-general being the ex officio chairman. The relevant minister usually appointed two members. Legislation provided for the recognised professional entity to appoint two of its members, and that was done by a vote by surveyors of the recognised institution in that jurisdiction. I am told that, from a list of three candidates, eligible surveyors would cast a ballot for the candidates of their choice.

In 2003 the various state divisions of the instituion and four other bodies that represented allied professionals undertook an Australia-wide postal ballot. Those other associations were, firstly, the Institution of Engineering and Mining Surveyors of Australia—IEMSA—the Mapping Science Institute of Australia, the Remote Sensing and Photogrametric Association of Australia and the Australian Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.

The new association formed is called the Spatial Sciences Institute, the SSI, and it was set up ostensibly as an umbrella organisation to promote the ideals of spatial sciences, or so I am advised. No tertiary qualifications are required to be a member of the SSI. I am told the only vote taken in 2002 was to form the SSI, not to dissolve the founding organisations, those four organisations I mentioned.

The New South Wales Institution of Surveyors voted strongly against the formation. The Institution of Surveyors, Victoria, initially voted yes but since has recinded this decision. I am further told that IEMSA, the Institution of Engineering and Mining Surveyors of Australia, and the Mapping Science Institute of Australia have refused to be part of the SSI, both at state and national levels. I am told the main reason for the no votes are issues with the struture of the SSI and governance issues and, for the land surveying profession in particular, the non-professional nature of the SSI.

There are some highly qualified and very professional members in the SSI that came from the founding bodies, but I am told they are not necessarily professional in the sense that there are no prescribed standards as there are for, for example, solicitors, barristers, surgeons, doctors, electricians et cetera. I am told the SSI was set up ostensibly as an umbrella organisation to promote the ideals of spatial sciences. I am further told, at a trivial level, that surveying is a spatial science and in fact the field


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