Malcolm Turnbull has announced a review of the regulations governing space activity to stimulate the space industry. The problem is, it contains no funding for space research. We need funding for space to ensure that there is expertise retained in Australia. Without stable jobs, those in the space industries will continue to leave Australia for other countries.
Let’s not get too excited here, this is a review of laws, not an increase in funding. If you want an announcement about funding Australian space research, go back to April this year, when the Future Party announced our new space policy. The Future Party has a plan to fund an Australian space agency and the renovation of the Woomera launch facility. The benefits that come with a space agency range from innovations to education as well as a growing commercial industry.
The best way to approach the setup of an Australian Space Agency is to focus on a niche market that Australia can contribute to the international space industry. Australia is very good at providing remote sensing expertise to the world, we are world leaders in astronomy research. Australia also has great projects like Neumann Space and HyShot,which are currently contributing greatly to international research efforts. We need to build on our strengths and find additional funding for these and a small selection of other projects, to keep these researchers in Australia and attract additional researchers from overseas.
The space industry is changing, and the commercial space industry is a very big part of that change. The Future Party’s policy is to encourage and develop the conditions needed for a commercial space industry to grow, and part of this is reforming the laws around launching space vehicles to maximise the opportunities for launch.
Brett Biddington, Chief executive of the Space Industries Australia said "There are a number of Australian entrepreneurs and start-up companies just champing at the bit to move space projects forward." The Future Party completely agrees with this statement from Brett and would like to support them with significant funding.
Australia has a lot to offer, from research and innovation expertise to a world class launch facility. We won't progress if we continue doing what we already doing, and a review will confirm this. We need to create a space agency that can collaborate internationally provide expertise in our niche areas and benefit from the expertise of others while maintaining a permanent space workforce and industry in Australia.