Thousands of new jobs as Australia creates its own space agency

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Birds sit on top of a satellite dish as heavy fog envelops the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida
Birds sit on top of a satellite dish as heavy fog envelops the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida Reuters/Scott Audette

Australia is set to create its own space agency and thousands of new jobs can be expected. Several developed nations already have a space agency, and it is believed that Australia must be part of the growing industry.

The federal government is expected to provide further details about its long-term plans at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide. Acting Industry Minister Michaelia Cash recognised that the sector is growing fast globally.

"A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry," the acting minister said. She added that the agency will be the anchor for domestic co-ordination as well as the front door for international engagements. Her office acknowledged that feedback from a review into the industry confirmed the need for a national space agency.

Federal labor was reportedly set to unveil plans to double the size of the nation’s space industry within five years of building an Australian Space, Science and Industry Agency. Kim Carr, Labor's science and research spokesman, said that the new agency would oversee the creation of thousands of new jobs here.

Carr maintained that the nation’s domestic interests certainly have to be protected, industry capability must be built and jobs must be secured. The country already has significant involvement in national and international space activities, and a dedicated agency would provide a stronger platform for collaboration.

As to where the agency will be based is yet to be announced, but South Australian senator Simon Birmingham assured that the state will benefit. The government frontbencher said they are confident that South Australia will be a key beneficiary of any growth related to space agency-type activity given the state’s unique geography.

South Australian Labor Premier Jay Weatherill announced a space industry centre for his state last week. He hinted that creation of a national body could be looming. "We know that the space industry in this country and around the world is growing at about three times the rate of growth [of] the rest of the growth in the world economy," he said, according to radionz.co.nz.

Space plays a significant role in the lives of most Aussies. It helps improve the accuracy of weather forecasts and the use of smartphones and GPS devices. Its role is likely to grow in the coming years, hence the federal government’s decision to conduct a review of the nation's space capabilities.

European Space Agency, ESA/YouTube

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