Labor takes $20m aim at space

James Riley
Editorial Director

Labor says it will splash $20 million to establish a space industry cluster in the NSW regional suburb of Jerrabomberra, located just over the border with the Australian Capital Territory and a stone’s throw from Canberra.

The funding would be used by the Australian Space Agency to attract an anchor tenant for the new space industry cluster within the Jerrabomberra innovation precinct, which also serves as home base to a business incubator, sports hub, and a new high school.

“It is so important for Australia to maintain sovereign space capabilities, these skills and capabilities are vital to our national security, have critical role in our national communications security and reliability, and industry 4.0 development and the jobs of the future,” shadow industry minister Kim Carr said.

The next frontier: Going where no CRC has gone before

According to Senator Carr, the funding commitment would help retain “unique sovereign capabilities” including position, navigation and timing technologies, earth observation, space situational awareness and debris tracking, and communications technologies and services.

Meanwhile, the Morrison Government has committed a $55 million investment to build a Space Cooperative Research Centre in South Australia.

The funding provided would be matched by $190 million in cash and in-kind contributions from dozens of participants in the space CRC.

The SmartSat CRC would feature advanced communications technologies plus earth observations from space to support industries including agriculture, transport, logistics, communications, mining, and national defence and security.

Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the SmartSat CRC would complement the work of the Space Agency.

“This industry-led research collaboration involves a broad cross section of the Australian space industry, governments and the research sector,” she said.

“SmartSat CRC will foster the creation of next generation space-technologies and professionals and make Australia more competitive in the US$350 billion global space economy.”

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