Queensland wants a share of Australian space industry

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning has a vision where his state is getting its share of the jobs and growth that a local space scene will create.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Following the development of a roadmap, a committee list of recommendations, and a report from Deloitte into job creation opportunities arising from the establishment of a space industry in Queensland, the state is looking to take its share of Australian space efforts.

According to Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick, Queensland has all the right fundamental drivers for a booming space economy.

"The Australian government has committed to establishing a national space industry. My vision is a future where Queensland is getting our share of the jobs and growth that will create," Dick said.

The minister's remarks follow last year's launch of the Queensland Aerospace 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan [PDF], a recent report from Deloitte Access Economics on Queensland's space industry capabilities and potential economic growth, and a report from the State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee into job creation opportunities in the space industry.

See also: Australia hopes to kick start space industry with new strategy

The committee's report made 15 recommendations relating to areas including space infrastructure, career pathways, and STEM education, with Dick saying the Queensland government's response to the committee sees it accept, in whole or in principle, all of the recommendations made. He said the state is already making progress toward many of them.

"This includes conducting an initial assessment of sites suitable for space infrastructure and working closely with the federal government on the market for Australian launch sites," he said. "The alignment between the committee's recommendations and the work we've already started is more proof that our space economy is on track."

Dick added that Deloitte's report found Queensland is well-placed to capitalise on Australia's emerging space industry, saying Queensland already contributes 2,000 full-time positions and generates AU$760 million per year to the state economy.

"Importantly, the report compiled for the first time a Queensland Space Economy Capability Directory, capturing more than 50 organisations operating in Queensland with capabilities valuable for the space industry," he said, noting these included leading Earth observation, robotics and automation, data analytics, and ground systems businesses.

"The next step will be a fully-fledged strategy for growing Queensland's space industry.

"The strategy will build on the State's competitive strengths identified in the Deloitte report as well as the significant overlaps these have with the Australian Space Agency's forward investment plans in Earth observation, robotics and automation, communication technologies, and access to space."

Read also: AI in space: Astronauts will get floating robot assistant thanks to IBM, Airbus (TechRepublic)

The Australian Space Agency was stood up in July 2018, with a AU$41 million, four-year investment made under the 2018-19 federal Budget.

It was announced in December that the space agency would call South Australia home, after states and territories around the country spent six months battling for boasting rights.

Under the guidance of former Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) boss Megan Clark, the agency has a mandate to triple the size of Australia's domestic space industry up to AU$12 billion by 2030, generating 20,000 new Australian jobs, and getting more kids to take up STEM-focused careers.

The Adelaide agency, however, is expected to employ only 20 full-time equivalent staff when it opens in mid-2019. 

According to CSIRO, Australia's space industry was estimated to have generated revenues of AU$3-4 billion in 2017, with a workforce of around 10,000.


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