Confirmed space agency to boost Australian industry

Andrew Cummings
September 25, 2017

"A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry".

It brings Canberra - which already has significant involvement in national and global space activities - into line with most other developed nations, which already have dedicated agencies to help coordinate the industry and shape development.

The new committee has already received almost 200 submissions and consulted with more than 400 people, and the government said these were "overwhelmingly" in favour of establishing a space agency.

The reference group, chaired by former Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation head Dr Megan Clark, will now turn its attention to a charter for the national space agency.

"We are dependent on other countries who can choose their own national interest over and above ours", he said.

Most developed nations have a space agency, including New Zealand, and there were concerns Australia may be not be capitalising on the growing industry.

Australia is one of only two OECD countries not to have a space agency.

"The global space economy is worth $420 billion, yet Australia's share of this is only 0.8 percent".

In August, the ACT and South Australian governments announced a joint bid for the establishment of such an agency. "And that's the key point of both the government's and Labor's plans, it is a jobs industry-first agency", he told ABC News Breakfast.

The centre would be "dedicated to growing the local space economy and creating future high-tech jobs", SA Premier Jay Weatherill said.

Under this agreement the agency could have its headquarters in Canberra and its operational base in South Australia.

"During the congress, I will also meet with leading ACT based companies operating in the industry including SpaceX, Northrop Grumman Australia and Lockheed Martin to discuss opportunities for the ACT Government to assist the industry to grow".

The long-anticipated announcement comes as the week-long International Astronautical Congress kicks off in Adelaide.

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