Australian Space Agency to launch on 1 July

Former CSIRO chief to lead new agency

The newly created Australian Space Agency will begin operations on 1 July, the government announced today.

The federal budget included $41 million over four years from 2018-19 to “grow the Australian space industry,” including the launch of the new agency.

Some $26 million of the funding is for the Australian Space Agency, which budget documents said will “coordinate domestic space activities for Australia“.

In addition, $15 million from 2019-20 was earmarked for the establishment of the International Space Investment project, which will provide grants to “strategic space projects”.

(The budget also included funding for improving GPS performance in Australia and providing better access to satellite imagery.)

In September the government revealed its intention to further cultivate the domestic space industry, including the development of a space agency.

The government today said that former CSIRO chief executive Dr Megan Clark would lead the new agency in its first year of operation.

Clark led the government-commissioned review of Australia’s space industry capability. The government today published the final report of the review and its response.

Currently, Australia’s domestic space industry is worth around $3.94 billion, the report produced by the review panel states; equivalent to around 0.8 per cent of the US$345 billion global space economy.

The review outlines a target of tripling the size of the domestic space industry to $10-$12 billion by 2030.

“The growth of our space industry will provide an additional 10,000 to 20,000 high-level jobs across Australia, while creating a sustainable and important capability for the nation,” the report states.

“Space is integral to how all of us communicate, locate, and see the world and underpins the ability of Australia’s key sectors such as agriculture, maritime, gas, mining and transport to remain world-leading.”

“We have an extraordinary opportunity to increase our share of the growing global space economy,” jobs and innovation minister Michaelia Cash said.

“Space technologies are not just about taking people to the moon, they open up opportunities for many industries, including communications, agriculture, mining, oil and gas.

“An Australian space agency will support the long-term development of space technologies, grow our domestic space industry and secure our place in the global space economy.”

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