Interview on FIVEaa breakfast with David Penberthy and Will Goodings
Topics: Establishment of a national space agency

Presenter: Later today there is going to be a pretty big announcement by the Federal Government, they’re looking at creating a NASA style space agency, now this sounds a bit like pie in the sky stuff, but it’s actually a $400 billion industry worldwide, the space industry, and here in Australia it employs about 11 500 people. Senator Simon Birmingham is the relevant Minister, Liberal Senator for South Australia obviously and joins us now. Birmo, good morning and thank you so much for your time.

Simon Birmingham: Morning guys great to be with you.

Presenter: So what actually have you got in mind and is Adelaide going to be the new Cape Canaveral?

Simon Birmingham: Well firstly, South Australia with our unique geography, obviously the Woomera Rocket Range has been central to Australia’s engagement in space through the decades, will be of course a locality of state that is going to benefit significantly disproportionately from any growth in space related activity. Globally, we’ve seen over the last couple of decades, that investment in space related industries has grown more than three times the size and rate of the global economy, so that growth rate in space activity presents a huge opportunity for Australia, but our sector and our share of that has not grown anywhere near as fast, so what we’re really looking at here is saying how as a country do we put the architecture in place to help get Australian businesses, Australian industries more front and centre and getting more of our fair share as a country, in terms of that space investment globally.

Presenter: So we have got a ready to go rocket range with regard to Woomera. Would we get the headquarters of such an agency in Adelaide, Senator?

Simon Birmingham: Well we’ve got Dr Megan Clark, former head of the CSIRO, doing a structure and a working paper around exactly how this agency will work, where it should be centered, what type of investment profile it needs and that will report by March of next year. But we’re making the first commitment today with the International Astronautical conference happening in Adelaide, to make it clear that the Turnbull Government is determined to see Australia get at least its fair share of investment in terms of space related activity, which could mean several billion dollars of extra economic activity in Australia, or of course hopefully even more than our fair share of our ability to build a successful profile in this sector. I think it’s important listeners to realise, it’s not anymore about government wanting to put man on the moon, nowadays satellite communications, technology, and otherwise, there is a huge commercial, private sector investment in activity profiles in relation to the space industry and that’s where we are seeking to grow our share.

Presenter: Good stuff, Senator Simon Birmingham, it’s an exciting development and we will watch it with great interest.

Simon Birmingham: Thanks Guys.