Victoria launches campaign to position itself as home for new Australian Space Agency

As reported earlier, Australia has set aside A$41 million is earmarked for the country to establish its first national space agency over the next 4 years.

According to a recent press release, the Andrews Labor Government in Victoria, Australia, has launched a new campaign to make Victoria the home of the new Australian Space Agency. The move aims to grow Victoria’s thriving space industry, create jobs and boost the state’s economy.

Earlier this month, Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll joined Victorian Lead Scientist Dr Amanda Caples and Associate Professor Alan Duffy at Swinburne University of Technology to promote Victoria’s aerospace capabilities.

According to Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll, Victoria has generations of manufacturing experience and major companies willing to invest, making it “the perfect home” for the Australian Space Agency.

According to the statement, Victoria is the ideal home for the new agency given its well-established advanced manufacturing and data science sectors, with more than one-in-five Australian space-related science and technology companies based in the state.

Victoria is also well positioned both commercially and geographically to be the physical centre and a focal point for coordinating national and international collaboration on space and attracting global investment.

Lead Scientist Dr Amanda Caples also echoed that Victoria is at the forefront of research, engineering and advanced manufacturing in the areas of aerospace, satellite communications, cybersecurity and spatial information for both the civil and defence industries.

Some of the world’s biggest names in aerospace – including Lockheed Martin, Thales, Boeing and BAE Systems – also carry out aerospace research, development and manufacturing in Victoria.

At the same time, the biggest user of space technology in Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology and the leading international research and development centre Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information are also based in Melbourne.

“Victoria has a proud legacy of world-class advanced manufacturing, as well as the key universities and industry R&D collaborations in data science and AI to best use that data from space. Our state is ready to support the growth of the Australian space industry that operates on a global scale and beyond,” said Swinburne University of Technology Associate Professor Alan Duffy.

Swinburne University has partnered with the California Institute of Technology, giving the institute unique access to the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, while La Trobe University has a $20 million partnership with the German Space Agency to develop and design a super-sharp-image camera to fly on the International Space Station.

The global space industry is forecast to be worth more than A$1 trillion by 2040, Victoria can help see Australia’s share of this market increase to tens of billions of dollars, potentially creating 20,000 jobs.

Commencing its operation on 1 July 2018, the Australian Space Agency will have four core responsibilities

(1) support the development of Australia’s space industry so that it can compete effectively in the global space sector, 

(2) coordinate domestic activities in Australia’s space sector, 

(3) engage closely with key stakeholders, including state and territory governments, to identify opportunities to harness industry advantages and create a globally competitive space industry in Australia, and 

(4) facilitate international space engagement, both in policy and industry forums, to build the networks needed to develop Australia’s space capability and ensure our industry players can access global supply chains.

The agency will also administer legislative arrangements for Australian civil space activities, ensuring that these activities are in Australia’s national interests and align to the country’s international obligations in space.

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