Space Industry Association names new chief

Brandon How

The Space Industry Association of Australia has a new chief executive in Maria MacNamara, a serial board director and former adviser to Arthur Sinodinos during his time as a Liberal government minister.

Ms MacNamara will fill the vacancy left by James Brown, who left in October 2023 to compete for selection as a Liberal Senator for NSW. Mr Brown had been the inaugural CEO since the peak body was founded in 2020.

SIAA executive chairman Jeremy Hallett said Ms MacNamara brings “35 years’ of experience across membership organisations, the public sector and global ICT” when she joins on April 22.

“As the Australian Space Sector reaches new heights driven by its commercial enterprise and academic institutions, Maria brings crucial expertise in strategy and delivery, a deep global network and the ability to unlock further opportunity domestically and abroad,” he said.

Incoming SIAA chief executive Maria MacNamara. Image: LinkedIn

Despite her time as Mr Sinodinos’ adviser between 2012 and 2019, Ms MacNamara said she is prepared to work in the “national interest” with all sides of politics, and will build on her existing relationship with Industry and Science minister Ed Husic.

Until earlier this month, Ms MacNamara was the director of government affairs and innovation strategy at consulting firm Kyndryl, She has also previously worked at the Digital Transformation Agency as head of strategy and engagement, several law firms, and at the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office.

She will continue in her voluntary roles on the Western Sydney University’s infrastructure committee, the board of startup-focused Spark Festival, as the chair of the AUKUS Forum’s information sharing committee, and an industry/professional fellow at the University of Technology Sydney.

Looking forward to her new role, Ms MacNamara said her first priority is to successfully deliver the International Astronautical Congress at the end of September 2025, which is being held in Sydney. It is expected to attract 10,000 delegates from 100 countries.

“I want to make sure we position Australia as a space nation, and we’re able to get the ongoing legacy benefits of having had that in Sydney. Overall, my ambition is to make sure that Australia sees itself as a space nation,” she told

“My ambition is to make sure that all the current space industry participants are better known across the wider economy for the contribution they make.

“And also, I’m keen to make sure we encourage more of the research that’s being done in universities so that we have startups and scaleups being launched from Australia.”

Ms MacNamara highlighted launch capabilities and Earth observation as key sectors of opportunity, although deferred from commenting on the greatest barriers to the development of the space industry before taking up her new role.

“I just want to make sure that we’re operating in those niches where it matters most. There’s a lot of data that comes with the Earth observation stuff, so are we leveraging that appropriately?”

Ms MacNamara said her focus will be “very much in the Indo Pacific”, building on existing space agency and industry group relationships with Singapore and Japan, in addition to NASA.

“As opportunities arrive for going to deeper space, what you’re then able to do is collaborate because no one country can do everything, and so what you want to be able to do is work with your partners in the region to be able to progress the ultimate goal.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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