Budget 2018: Government confirms AU$41m space agency

Australia will create its own national space agency using AU$41 million in funding over the next four years, with the project part of its new Technology and Science Growth Plan.

The Australian government has confirmed its own space agency under the 2018-19 Federal Budget, with AU$41 million in funding committed to the project.

As part of the "growing the Australian space industry" tranche of its massive Australian Technology and Science Growth Plan unveiled in Tuesday's Budget, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science will get AU$5.7 million in 2018-19, AU$9.8 million in 2019-20, AU$11.8 million in 2020-21, and AU$13.7 million in 2021-22.

"This includes funding of AU$26 million over four years from 2018-19 to establish a National Space Agency, which will coordinate domestic space activities for Australia; and AU$15 million over three years from 2019-20 to establish the International Space Investment project, which will provide grants to strategic space projects that generate employment and business opportunities for Australians," the Budget papers explained.

According to the government, having a national space agency will "help Australian businesses capture more of the US$340 billion a year global space industry".

The announcement follows reports from the ABC last week that the government would be pumping AU$50 million into creating a space agency.

The Australian government had revealed in September that it would be establishing a national space agency after completing its review of the space industry.

It then announced signing a Space Tracking Treaty with NASA in October, with Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Michaelia Cash at the time saying the treaty "remains the foundation for a continued cooperative program between Australia and the United States".

In March, the opposition Labor party similarly promised a AU$35 million investment into a Space Industry Program, comprising research hubs and local space industry development, if it were to be elected in 2019.

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