SA and ACT to advocate for the creation of a national space agency

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South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the two jurisdictions work together towards the establishment of a Canberra-based agency with a prominent presence in Adelaide.

The MoU comes after SA and the ACT presented a joint paper at the COAG Industry and Skills Council meeting in Canberra earlier this month outlining ways to expand the nation’s space industry through education, research and industry-led initiatives.

The paper envisions that an Australian space agency would act as a space industry coordinator and government investment advisor, ultimately growing the number of direct and indirect jobs in the sector.

In making the announcement, Mr Weatherill said the five-year agreement reflects both jurisdictions’ commitment to ensuring Australia can participate in the international space industry, which generates revenue of $420 billion annually.

“South Australia and the ACT are committed to developing a space agency in Australia, and Adelaide will play a key part,” the Premier said.

“The space sector has enormous growth potential and is a perfect fit for South Australia, given our national leadership in other high-tech industries including defence, renewable energy, IT and advanced manufacturing. Just like those industries, the space sector will provide opportunities for traditional manufacturers to transition to a high-tech, high growth sector.”

Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said Australia’s space industry accounts for around $3-4 billion of revenue each year, adding that establishing an Australian space agency would increase that contribution to as much as $12-18 billion in just three years.

“South Australia and the ACT are leading the nation in developing strong space ecosystems, and together we are advocating for an Australian space agency to create a thriving national space industry,” the Minister said.

“Our state’s growing space ecosystem will take centre stage when delegates and space agencies from all over the world come to South Australia for the 68th International Astronautical Congress. Opportunities arising from IAC and the lucrative space sector could be missed if the Australian Government fails to act quickly to support our participation in the industry.”

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the deal recognises that the two jurisdictions have complementary strengths in the space sector.

“South Australia brings a launch facility and its manufacturing history to this partnership, while we have significant strengths in our research community and the headquarters of a significant number of the big players in the space industry,” Mr Barr said.

“As the first action under this MOU I am looking forward to attending the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide in September and showcasing a number of Canberra’s key industry players including ANU, UNSW Canberra, EOS Space Systems, Geospatial Intelligence and Northrop Grumman.”

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