Launch of Australian Space Policy
11 April 2013
Australia’s first ever space policy – Australia’s Satellite Utilisation Policy – has been released on 9 April, providing certainty and strategic direction for Australian users of satellite technology.
Launching the policy at ANU’s Stromlo Observatory, Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation Senator Kate Lundy said on-going, cost effective access to satellite capabilities was essential to Australia’s future.
Senator Lundy explained that this space policy is not only important for end-users, but a good space policy will also pay economic dividends for Australia. Satellite imagery alone was estimated in a 2010 report to contribute about $3.3 billion per year to GDP. Positioning technologies, such as GPS, were estimated in 2008 to have added $1 billion per year to GDP, and this is forecast to grow to between $6 and $12 billion by 2030.
Australia’s Satellite Utilisation Policy closely follows the Principles for a National Space Industry Policy, while replacing them as a statement of Australia’s objectives and direction for civilian space activities.
Key aspects of Australia’s Satellite Utilisation Policy include:
- giving priority to earth observations from space; satellite communications; and position, navigation and timing;
- contributing to international ‘rules of the road’ for space through Australian space situational awareness infrastructure and diplomatic efforts;
- building and retaining high quality Australian space expertise; and
- developing a plan to meet projected growth in Australia’s satellite information needs by modernising and consolidating Australia’s ground infrastructure.
Dr Ady James, The Executive Director of Mullard Space Science Laboratory at UCL Australia comments; “Clearly this is an important step in securing the necessary access to space for the future. My concern would be that it is assumed that the next generation of scientists and engineers working in the space industry in Australia will be inspired by the prospects of contributing to maintaining existing space dependent services. In Europe and the US it is the existence of space research programmes that inspires the young to take up science and engineering subjects which are essential to maintaining the technical skills that can support and drive Australian business forward.”