A Shorten Labor Government will create an Australian Space Science and Industry Agency to ensure that Australia does not miss out on the opportunities provided by the rapidly growing global space industry.
Today’s announcement is the first phase of Labor’s Australian Space Science and Industry Plan.
Labor’s Australian Space Science and Industry Agency will be tasked to double the size of the Australian space industry within five years of its establishment – creating 10,000 new high skill, high wage jobs in advanced manufacturing, research, earth observation and space technologies.
Currently, the Australian space sector generates annual revenues of $3-4 billion and employs between 9,500 and 11,500 people.
Australia depends on space more than any other country in the world. Space-based applications impact our everyday lives, for example:
Supermarkets provide fresh fruit and vegetables by using satellite navigation in their delivery fleet to optimise just-in-time deliveries.
ATMs and other credit card applications’ authorisation processes depend on satellite based timing synchronisation.
Keeping food prices low by using satellite-optimised flood irrigation to boost crop yields.
Mobile phone conversations require synchronisation which comes from satellite time transfer.
Emergency and disaster relief response relies on specialised satellite imagery and communications because electrical power, cell phone towers and cables can all be damaged.
Adaption to climate change relies on space data.
Transport is being revolutionised today by artificial intelligence and autonomous and driverless vehicles relying on satellite navigation enhancements.
The global space economy is worth $420 billion, yet Australia’s share of this is only 0.8 percent.
We can and must do better.
Australia has the science, technology, infrastructure and skills to punch significantly above our weight in the global space industry.
The first phase of Labor’s plan will see the establishment of:
The Australian Space Science and Industry Agency – which will drive investment and co-ordinate the activities of state governments, scientists, industry and universities to boost the opportunities the global space industry offers.
A Space Industry Innovation Council – to serve as an advisory board for the agency, develop an industry wide agenda, and build international confidence.
A Space Industry Supplier Advocate – opening up opportunities for space industry companies, attracting investment and jobs.
Australia is one of only two OECD nations without its own dedicated space agency. Unless this changes, Australia risks being left behind in a rapidly growing key global industry of the 21st century.
This plan seeks to work with State and Territory governments to capture the opportunities that the Turnbull Government has squandered.
Currently the Australian Government has over 90 programs worth $1.3 billion in annual expenditure that currently rely on earth observation from space data, including the defence, communications/GPS, meteorological and agricultural sectors.
It is in Australia’s national interest to build our own capabilities in these areas, not only to meet current and future needs, but also to mitigate the risk of these services becoming unavailable.
By contrast, the Turnbull Government has slashed public funding for Australian space activities and has commissioned yet another, unnecessary review of Australian Space policy. Australia does not need another review.
More information on Labor’s announcement can be found here.