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Interview - Channel 9 The Today Show

12 December 2018

Interviewer: 
Brenton Ragless

Subject: Australian Space Agency location

E&OE

The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, was interviewed by Channel 9 The Today Show on the new location of the Australian Space Agency.

Brenton Ragless: Adelaide has been chosen as the home for our new multimillion dollar space agency with the headquarters to be built in the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site in the heart of the city. Minister for Industry, Science, and Technology Karen Andrews joins us now. Minister, having come from South Australia, I'm pretty excited about this. Why was Adelaide chosen?

Minister Andrews: Good morning. And look, what I can say is that I'm so excited about the space agency coming to South Australia, I've practically lost my voice this morning. But it's a great choice for the first space agency. South Australia has actually got a very long history in space [audio skip] over 50 years, the first satellite was launched from Woomera. So since that time, South Australia has done some terrific things and here, I am at Lot 14 which is where the Australian Space Agency will be based. It's a great innovation centre that is being purposed built and it's a great opportunity for South Australia in particular to continue doing the great work that it's doing in space.

Brenton Ragless: Well, I remember back in 1981 when I was just five years old, I dreamt of becoming an astronaut and now that seems a whole lot closer reality for a number of Australians. What kind of jobs will this open for not just the state but indeed Australia?

Minister Andrews: Well, there's a whole range of job opportunities that will come through what Australia is doing in space. So certainly, I wouldn't rule out that we're going to have astronauts at some stage. But we're going to have scientists, engineers, technicians, IT specialists and there's an emerging area in space as well. And so there's going to be a wide range of jobs that are going to be available.

Currently, the space sector in Australia is worth about $3.9 billion and employs about 10,000 people. And we're planning to grow the sector to $12 billion and an additional 20,000 people by 2030. So for all those young kids at school who are looking for opportunities in the future, space is definitely something they should consider.

Brenton Ragless: And not too far away when you consider by 2020, we're going to go back to the moon, then humans back on the moon 2023 and then by the time some 20,000 people around the country, we're on our mission to Mars, we hope. What sort of projects are we going to be looking at?

Minister Andrews: Well in the first instance, we'll be a little bit focused on satellites because we're all doing - already doing that well here in Australia. But quite frankly, the sky really is the limit. We know that worldwide, the space sector is worth about US$345 billion. So Australia really wants to take its share of that market as well. So I wouldn't close the door to anything. I think we've actually got to really shoot for the stars in this case and not rule out any options and grow the space sector to be one of the leading industries here in Australia.

Brenton Ragless: Well, Karen you made my day and plenty of days of aspiring astronauts around the country. Thanks so much for your time.

Minister Andrews: It's a pleasure and one day I might join you on a trip to the moon.

Brenton Ragless: [Laughs] Let's hope so. Thanks.