Confirmed space agency to boost Australian industry

The Turnbull Government will establish a national space agency to ensure the growth of Australia’s domestic space industry.

Acting minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the establishment of a space agency is one of the key issues being examined by the Expert Reference Group appointed to review Australia’s space industry capability.

“The global space industry is growing rapidly and it’s crucial that Australia is part of this growth,” Cash said.

“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.”

“The agency will be the anchor for our domestic coordination and the front door for our international engagement.”

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Former CSIRO Chief Dr Megan Clark is chairing the Reference Group, and its review is well advanced.

The Reference Group has sought views from across the country from industry, government and society, which will be used to inform the government plan to expand the sector.

The Reference Group has received almost 200 written submissions in response to its issues paper, and more than 400 people have been consulted through roundtables in each state and territory.

“We haven’t finished our review yet and, when we get the chance to give an update in March, it will not only look to understand our strengths [in the space industry] but also where the gaps are,” Clark told Manufacturers’ Monthly.

“But I can share a little bit about what we have been hearing from the industry. There is a requirement for more co-ordination from our domestic activities, to enable our companies to participate in the value chain, internationally.

Meetings have also been held with key stakeholders, including the state and territory governments.

Feedback from the extensive consultation process has overwhelmingly shown the need for the establishment of a national space agency.

The Reference Group will now develop a charter for the space agency for inclusion in the wider strategy being brought forward by the end of March 2018.