As the first national space agency prepares to officially start work from July 1, working from an office at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in Canberra, the state governments are launching campaigns to convince the Government as to why their states are the best location for the agency to set base permanently.
When Manufacturers’ Monthly spoke last week to Megan Clark, who will lead the Australian Space Agency for the first year, she said her team was all set to have the agency up and running by July 1.
“In its first 12 months, the agency will focus on two things: working to open the doors internationally, and engaging with states and territories as to how they can hep us engage with industry and research in their state or territory and put forward a recommendation to the government for the best strategic location,” Clark told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
The federal budget 2018 announced more than $300 million government investment to kick-start Australia’s space industry and develop core satellite infrastructure. The government will establish the first Australian Space Agency with funding of $41 million over the next four years.
After New South Wales, which as appointed Australia’s first astronaut, Dr Paul Scully-Power to lead the state’s bid to locate the agency in Sydney, it is now time for Victoria and Western Australia to launch campaigns to lobby for hosting the agency.
The Victorian Government has launched a new campaign at Swinburne University of Technology to make Victoria the home of the new Australian Space Agency.
The Victoria Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll has joined Victorian Lead Scientist Dr Amanda Caples and Associate Professor Alan Duffy at Swinburne to promote Victoria’s aerospace capabilities.
Victoria is basing its argument on being the hub of advanced manufacturing and home to some of the biggest names in aerospace industry, including Lockheed Martin, Thales, Boeing and BAE Systems – carryout aerospace research, development and manufacturing in Victoria.
Meanwhile, the Western Australian Science Minister Dave Kelly has called on the Federal Government to base the space agency in WA, after a report by ACIl Allen consulting concluded that WA’s geographic advantages and local expertise make it an ideal location.
The ACIL Allen report concluded that WA’s geographic advantages have been reinforced by investments in communications and computational infrastructure and access to technical expertise and that WA’s southern hemisphere location and latitude were ideal for space situational awareness and networks that required global coverage of space assets.
The report was commissioned by a Steering Group, chaired by WA Chief Scientist, Professor Peter Klinken AC, of stakeholders from the space sector, including the State’s four universities.