New measures to help grow Australia’s civil space sector

Joint media release with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Dan Tehan MP

Turbocharging growth in Australia’s civil space sector is the aim of two key measures announced today by the Morrison Government that will help to reduce launch costs and open the door to increased collaboration with major US companies.

Australia and the US will build on over 60 years of space collaboration by commencing negotiations on a bilateral Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA).

The Government is also deferring the introduction of partial cost recovery for applications submitted under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 for another 12 months. 

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, said the TSA will set out principles under which US companies can collaborate with Australian firms on local launch projects, knowing that sensitive US technology and data will be protected.

“In negotiating a proposed TSA with the US, the Government is considering how this opportunity could further enhance space collaboration and protect the movement of sensitive technologies and goods with one of our closest allies, while retaining flexibility for our local industry to continue to grow and providing new opportunities for Australian space businesses,” Minister Porter said.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said both countries have a shared commitment to further strengthening space cooperation and appropriately managing the movement of sensitive technologies and goods.

“For over 50 years, since Australia supported the Apollo moon landings, the US and Australia have continued an enduring space partnership. The US has the largest commercial space sector globally and Australia is committed to expanding our collaboration including supporting NASA’s mission to put the first woman and the next man on the Moon,” Minister Payne said.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan, said Australia’s space industry was innovative, globally competitive and growing quickly.

“Enhancing collaboration between Australia and the US will help Australian businesses develop their capability, leading to investment opportunities and job creation.”

Under the deferral of fees, businesses can continue to apply for space activities such as launches without incurring an application fee. These settings will remain in place until 1 July 2022 to encourage launch activity and continued investment and growth in the broader space sector.

“The Government will continue to support Australian space businesses by getting the conditions right, so they can build scale and take advantage of opportunities to secure future investment and access global markets – all while creating high-paying jobs for Australians,” Minister Porter said.

Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said these national and international opportunities would both help grow Australia’s space sector. The negotiations with the US, if successful, are expected to strengthen investment for both space industries by enabling the transfer of technologies and providing scope for growth in Australian space launch capability.

“The US and Australia have a long-standing, close and strong collaboration in space exploration. These negotiations open up new opportunities for our nations to work together and continue to grow the Australian space industry through cooperation in space,” Mr Palermo said.

“Deferring fees for another 12 months will also provide opportunities to grow the sector, particularly our domestic launch capability.”

The Australian Space Agency - headquartered at the Lot Fourteen space precinct in Adelaide -marked its third anniversary today. The Agency’s mission is to triple the size of the Australian civil space sector and create up to 20,000 additional jobs by 2030.

The Australian Government has invested more than $700 million to grow the Australian civil space sector since the establishment of the Australian Space Agency in 2018.