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Australia-NZ to boost satellite positioning technology

28 February 2020

Joint media release with the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP  

Australia and New Zealand have agreed to partner together to rollout new satellite technology that will be able to pinpoint a location on Earth to within 10 centimetres, unlocking more than $7.5 billion in benefits for industries on both sides of the Tasman.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern committed to jointly implement a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), to operate across Australia and New Zealand, at the Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ meeting today.         

This world-leading system will improve the accuracy of GPS and other positioning services from the current five to 10 metres to as little as 10 centimetres across Australia and New Zealand without the need for mobile or internet coverage.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the project, to be operating by 2023, will have significant benefits to a range of industry sectors including mining, agriculture and transport.

“We welcome New Zealand’s commitment to join Australia in rolling out this exciting new technology, which will deliver substantial economic benefits for both countries,” Minister Pitt said.

“An independent analysis by Ernst and Young (EY) has found improved positioning technology will deliver more than $6.2 billion in benefits for Australia, and more than $1.4 billion in benefits for New Zealand, over the next 30 years.

“Trial projects have also found the system can make our roads and rail systems much safer, and can improve the way farmers manage their land, crops and livestock. For the resources sector, the technology can track vehicles and improve site surveys to enable precise extraction of deposits."

Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said the project will complement Australia’s other investments in space to drive economic growth and create new jobs.

“The Morrison Government is backing these types of technologies because of the positive impact they have on the lives of everyday Australians – from the discoveries that make life easier through to growing industries that create high-value jobs,” Minister Andrews said.

“Many industries stand to benefit from this technology. It could help improve safety and efficiency in aviation and shipping and will be crucial to the development of autonomous vehicles.

“This work also supports our government’s broader commitment to triple the size of the space sector to $12 billion and an extra 20,000 new jobs by 2030.”

The new project follows 18 months of successful trials which tested 27 projects across a range of industries. It will be delivered by Geoscience Australia and Land Information New Zealand under the joint science research and innovation treaty.

More information about accurate satellite positioning is available on the Geoscience Australia website.

Media contacts:

Minister Pitt’s office 02 6277 7180

Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070