The Northern Territory Government and the Australian Space Agency have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at maximising the Territory’s natural advantages to create jobs and grow the economy.
Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the MoU will drive the creation of high-tech jobs in the Northern Territory, but will also see the Top End contributing to the economic growth of the whole nation.
“Space is not only a growing sector of its own, but it develops technologies and know-how that can be applied across a range of industries to help Australia emerge from the COVID-19 crisis stronger than ever,” Minister Andrews continued.
“The geographic location of the Northern Territory, including its wide open expanses, makes it a hugely appealing destination for space companies and agencies from around the world. The proximity of the Territory to the equator also means advantages for commercial rocket launch.”
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the signing of the MoU brings the Northern Territory ‘a step closer’ to becoming ‘a key player’ in the trillion dollar international space industry.
“While we are working every day to keep Territorians safe form coronavirus, we are also preparing for the rebound – with new industries, new investments and new jobs,” Mr Gunner said.
“We are perfectly positioned to benefit from the space economy and the jobs it will bring. We are close to the equator, we aren’t prone to earthquakes, we’re close to the sea and sparsely populated areas, and we have great weather.
“With technology shifts driving growth in the commercial space industry, Australia has the potential to capture a greater share of this global industry and we want the Northern Territory to be at the front of the pack.
The announcement comes as NASA and Equatorial Launch Australia are preparing to launch their sounding rocket program from the Arnhem Space Centre.
“We are in the space race, and we are in it to win it. It will mean more investment and more jobs for Territorians,” Mr Gunner added.
Head of the Australian Space Agency Dr Megan Clark said this agreement will ‘build on the existing assets in the Northern Territory’.
“Existing infrastructure from ground stations such as the indigenous, owned and operated, Centre for Appropriate Technology, and the Alice Springs Balloon Launching Facility show the capability that exists within the Northern Territory,” Dr Clark said.
“Growing the Northern Territory’s space sector improves other parts of the local economy through the application of space technologies to areas like remote health, bushfire tracking, emergency management, and agriculture.”