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21 August 2017

SA and ACT work towards a national agency

Australia is one of only a few developed countries without a national space agency. But that is set to change.

THE South Australian and ACT governments will push for a national space agency arguing it will allow the country a bigger slice of the $420 billion a year industry.

The two states signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday in Canberra to work towards a national agency, with SA Premier Jay Weatherill saying it is critical Australia takes a bigger part in the international space industry for the economic benefits.

“The space sector has enormous growth potential and is a perfect fit for South Australia, given our national leadership in other high-tech industries,” Mr Weatherill said.

“The space sector will provide opportunities for traditional manufacturers to transition to a high-tech, high-growth sector.”

Australia is one of only a few developed countries without a national space agency, even New Zealand established its agency last year.

The SA premier says the agreement will encourage other states to push the federal government to look at a national agency.

The Australian space industry is worth between $3 billion and $4 billion a year and employs 11,500 workers.

Mr Weatherill said if a national agency was established the industry could be worth up to $18 billion in a few years.

Federal Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos announced in July a review of Australia’s space industry capabilities and said a national agency would be under consideration, with the review expected to be finished by March next year.

Adelaide will host an international space congress in September, when tech entrepreneur Elon Musk is expected to update his plans for a mission to Mars.

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