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Interview - Radio 5AA Adelaide

12 December 2018

Will Goodings & David Penberthy

Subject: Australian Space Agency Location


The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, was interviewed by Radio 5AA Adelaide about the new location of the Australian Space Agency.

Will Goodings: The space industry globally is worth $345 billion and Australia was the last of the developed countries to have a space agency. We've got something of an industry. In fact, we were the third country to launch a satellite from our own territory back in 1967. But now, we have a space agency, and parochially, we are delighted that the home of it is going to be Adelaide. It'll be the old RAH site, which is where we head right now and find there the federal Science Minister Karen Andrews.
Minister, good morning to you.

Minister Andrews: Good morning. How are you?

David Penberthy: We are very well, Minister. We're extremely excited about this, and good on you guys in Canberra for picking the right spot to place the thing.

Minister Andrews: Well, I thought you'd be pretty excited about the news and so am I. And in fact, I think I'm actually that excited, I'm losing my voice but it's great news for South Australia and for Adelaide.
David Penberthy: You sound like you're in serious need of a Strepsil there, Minister. [Laughs]

Minister Andrews: Look, and I've already tried that but this is post-Stepsil.

David Penberthy: Look, we'll go easy on you then. What was the reason you chose Adelaide?

Minister Andrews: So, Adelaide, actually, and South Australia, in particular, is where the Australian space industry actually started its journey. So our first satellite was launched into space from Woomera just over 50 years ago- 51 years ago to be precise. And there's been a lot of work that's been done, particularly recently in the space sector here in Adelaide. So with the establishment of Lot 14, it was actually a pretty compelling case to centre the Australian Space Agency here. We've got a couple of globally-recognised industries that are here. You've got a couple of global businesses, for example, Lockheed Martin has presence here; Airbus is here and Airbus has committed about $18 million to build a new satellite ground station here in South Australia. Of course, you've got another local business Myriota. I think, actually, in South Australia, there are about 60 businesses that are doing space-related work and employing already about 800 people. So, the base is actually very well-established in South Australia.

David Penberthy: So what are the sorts of projects that the new Space Agency of Australia will be looking at in the early days?

Minister Andrews: Well, their major task is to work with businesses, in particular, to build the size of Australia's space industry - it's currently worth about $3.9 billion and employs about 10,000 people in total - and the plan is to build it to a $12 billion industry sector by 2030, employing about an extra 20,000 people. So, the Space Agency is going to be working with universities. It's going to be working with local businesses and it's going to be a good opportunity to actually build the space sector in South Australia, and satellite already have a presence here so it will be [indistinct] satellite technology and potentially launches here from South Australia.

Will Goodings: Is there any prospect, as you understand it, Minister, for Woomera to be used like it once was 50 years ago as a launch site? Or is that totally off-limits now because of its defence- importance to Defence?

Minister Andrews: Look, I haven't discussed that, in particular, with Woomera. [Indistinct] a couple of years ago so I am a little bit familiar with that as well. Look, I wouldn't rule anything out at the moment but our priority in the first instances is to actually build the businesses…

David Penberthy: [Talks over] Sure

Minister Andrews: …and the capability.

Will Goodings: Excellent stuff. Karen Andrews, Science Minister, and just…

Minister Andrews: Yeah.

Will Goodings: Before we let you go, what's the sort of format for the rest of the morning down there at Lot 14 at the old RAH site? Is- you're with the PM, obviously, and what? There's a…

Minister Andrews: He's- whilst I've been talking to you he's actually already started the tour. So, he's here, so he's having a look around the site as well. He'll be given a briefing on where the space agency will actually be physically located, where it's going to be done here. So I think we'll be here for about 45 minutes to an hour…

Will Goodings: Awesome.

Minister Andrews: …so yeah.

David Penberthy: Enjoy your stay here in Adelaide.

Will Goodings: [Talks over] Yeah, absolutely.

David Penberthy: And yeah, great announcement. The state appreciates you for making such an excellent choice, Karen Andrews. Thanks for your time.

Minister Andrews: It's a pleasure, and I love visiting South Australia.

David Penberthy: You're a woman of impeccable taste. Thank you for that.


Minister Andrews: Thank you for that.