Monday, 14 May 2018 19:25

Government launches Australia’s first space agency


The Federal Government is to establish the first Australian Space Agency, aimed at helping  businesses win a greater share of the multi-billion dollar global space market and underpinning a new industry with the potential to create 20,000 jobs.

The government — which has committed $300 million to space industry and technology — says Australia has strong capability in space-related industries and is a world-leader in automated mining and precision agriculture, with an “immense expertise as an advanced manufacturing nation”.

According to the government, the global space economy is worth around US$345 billion, and growing at nearly 10% a year, and yet, “despite the outstanding capability here on our shores”, Australia only accounts for 0.8% of the global space economy.

The government announced the establishment of an Australian Space Agency as part of the 2018-19 Budget, with ongoing funding starting at $26 million over the next four years. The Agency will also be able to draw on a pool of $15 million, from 2019-20, to invest in specific international space projects which are considered to be beneficial to Australia.

The government says the space agency — to operate from 1 July this year — will support the long-term development and application of space technologies, growing Australia’s domestic space industry and securing a place in the global space economy.

Former head of the CSIRO, Dr Megan Clark will lead the agency for its establishment and first year of operation.

The government has also released the Expert Reference Group Report, which advised the government of Australia’s immense potential as a participant in the global space market, and set out the government’s response, and its commitment to growing the space industry and creating more Australian jobs.

Jobs and Innovation Minister Michaelia Cash — who announced the space agency establishment at Woodside in Perth on Monday — said the government was also investing more than $260 million to develop world-leading core satellite infrastructure and technologies, including better GPS for Australian business and regional Australians and improved access to satellite imagery.

She said the global space industry was growing rapidly and it was crucial that Australia was part of this growth.

“We have an extraordinary opportunity to increase our share of the growing global space economy," Cash said.

“Space technologies are not just about taking people to the moon, they open up opportunities for many industries, including communications, agriculture, mining, oil and gas.

“An Australian space agency will support the long-term development of space technologies, grow our domestic space industry and secure our place in the global space economy.

“Through our $300 million investment in space industry and technology, the Turnbull Government is allowing businesses across the economy to prosper, enter new markets and create jobs.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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