After repeated calls the Government has finally committed to establishing a national space agency to ensure Australia has a long-term plan to grow its domestic space industry.
Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Senator 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,” Minister 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.”
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 our plan to expand this important and exciting 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. 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.
Lockheed Martin welcomed the announcement and managing director – ANZ, (Space Systems Company International) Rod Drury said it is a watershed moment for Australia’s burgeoning space industry.
“By bringing together the government, academia and industry, a national space agency will provide significant benefits including clear national leadership, as well as helping to ensure Australia is represented internationally with a consistent voice on space.”
Chief Executive Vince Di Pietro underscored Lockheed Martin’s ongoing commitment to Australia’s space industry and commended the Government on the announcement.
“We remain committed to growing further partnerships across government, industry and academia to build Australia’s space capabilities, and this includes building the workforce of the future through our investments in STEM-focused initiatives.”