AAL is a public, non-profit company of limited liability, the principle object of which is the advancement of the science of astronomy within the principles of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. AAL is ultimately controlled by the members, who appoint the board and vote on matters of community importance, normally at the annual general meeting.
AAL’s working practices are guided by its Constitution, which is underwritten by AAL’s Members Representatives. Additional policies have also been created to ensure a fair and safe environment for staff, Board and committee members, and any other individual involved in AAL work practices.
The 2006 Decadal Plan for Australian Astronomy called for:
“A peak body to coordinate Australia’s astronomical activities and to represent it in international partnerships … Such a body may not necessarily have formal authority over all the diverse elements that comprise Australian astronomy, but it can provide an effective governance mechanism … The ability to seek and administer funds will also be a key element in the effectiveness of such a body.”
National Committee for Astronomy of the Australian Academy of Science, November 2005, New Horizons: A decadal plan for Australian astronomy (2006-2015), p.24
In April 2007, AAL was established, with agreement from the wider astronomical community, as an impartial and independent body, to manage the Australian Government’s $45M National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) investment in astronomy infrastructure. AAL now comprises every institution in Australia with a significant astronomy research program, and is an advocate for Australian astronomy infrastructure.
Since its incorporation, AAL has coordinated the Australian astronomy response to, and managed the funding for, a number of national schemes and projects – including the Australian Government’s investments in astronomy through the Education Investment Fund (EIF), the Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (CRIS), and a continuation of the NCRIS program. AAL also manages funding for, and represents Australia’s interests in, a number of international projects – including a ~5% share in the Giant Magellan Telescope project.