Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government's plan for a stronger economy and a more resilient Australia is allowing the government to back Australia's emerging space industry; and is the minister aware of the risks associated with any alternative approaches?
I thank the member for Sturt for his question. It was great to have him join the Prime Minister, the Premier of South Australia and me in Adelaide last week for the official opening—in fact, the launch!—of the Australian Space Agency's headquarters right in the heart of Adelaide.
I'm happy to say that I am a space nerd. As well as being a space nerd, the other thing that makes me so excited about opportunities in the space industry is the jobs that we know are going to be created as we continue to build and grow the Australian space sector. Let me put this into a little bit of context. The global space industry is projected to be about US$1 trillion by 2040. Because this government has managed our economy, we are in a position to invest almost $700 million in the space sector right here in Australia. Of that, $150 million will go towards supporting Australian businesses to be part of the NASA program that will go to the moon and then on to Mars. That's $150 million that will support Australian businesses. It will go directly to Australian businesses so that they can build their capacity so that they can be part of the NASA program.
We know that it's important to support our space businesses, but is not just about the space businesses directly. It's the other businesses that support them—the other small and medium enterprises that support our space industries. There are numerous examples. One is Gilmour Space Technologies, on the Gold Coast, who are doing some fantastic work with rockets. There are about 300 Australian businesses that are supporting the work that they are doing. They are absolutely working with businesses to make sure that they are growing the sector.
The other important thing about space is what it does for everyday Australians. Yes, we're about jobs, but we're also about making sure that everyday Australians are supported. Farmers are going to be able to use space capabilities to monitor the health of their products. Emergency workers are going to be able to track the progress of fire fronts. We all use Google Maps or a GPS; that's only available to us because of space technology.
While those opposite have their heads down, gazing at their navels, we're the ones reaching for the stars.