CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, operates the ATNF as a world-class radio astronomy facility for Australian and international researchers under guidelines originally established by the Australian Science and Technology Council.
Through its Division of Radiophysics, CSIRO has a long history of radio astronomy research dating back to the 1940s. In April 1990, the ATNF was formally created as a national facility. Until 30 November 2009 the ATNF operated as a CSIRO division in its own right. On 1 December 2009, ATNF activity became the responsibility of a new division, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS), through which it is responsible via the CSIRO Executive to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research.
The Chief of CASS is also the Director of the ATNF.
Australia Telescope Steering Committee
ATNF policy is shaped by the Australia Telescope Steering Committee (ATSC), an independent committee appointed by the Minister. The ATSC meets at least once a year to advise the ATNF Director on the broad directions of the ATNF's scientific activities and longer term strategies for the development of the ATNF. The ATSC appoints the Australia Telescope Users Committee and the Time Assignment Committee.
Australia Telescope Users Committee
The Australia Telescope Users Committee (ATUC) represents the interests of the community of astronomy researchers who use the ATNF. The committee provides feedback to the ATNF Director, discussing problems with, and suggesting changes to, ATNF operations. It also discusses and provides advice on the scientific merit of future development projects. ATUC meetings are also a forum for informing telescope users of the current status and planned development of ATNF facilities, and recent scientific results.
Australia Telescope Time Assignment Committee
The Australia Telescope Time Assignment Committee (TAC) reviews research proposals and advises the ATNF Director on the allocation of telescope observing time.