Address to the Australian Space Forum


Check against delivery

Good morning.

It’s fantastic to be back in South Australia – twice in one week!

And of course it’s great to follow the remarks of Premier Steven Marshall, who has been doing excellent work in SA. 

There is so much happening here in emerging industries, including in our space sector, which just wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for his passion and stewardship. 

Premier – what you are doing here in South Australia, both in your traditional sectors such as agriculture and energy, and our future industries like cyber, AI, and of course space, is truly phenomenal. 

I’d also like to acknowledge my Parliamentary colleagues who are with us here today.  

This morning, you will have seen an announcement from Premier Marshall, Ministers Birmingham, Taylor, and myself, about our support for Fleet Space’s Australian Space Manufacturing Hub right here in Adelaide. 

I’m thrilled that the Morrison Government is contributing $20 million dollars to the Hub under the Collaboration Stream of the $1.3 billion dollar Modern Manufacturing Initiative. 

This purpose-built facility to be constructed at Adelaide Airport is going to help our local space manufacturers come together to build rockets and satellites.

All up this $66 million project is expected to create 221 jobs, as well as more than 1000 others indirectly, while fostering the next generation of space manufacturers and researchers.

This is just the second project to be supported under the Collaboration Stream, after our Government announced support for a major food manufacturing project earlier in the week.

There are still many fantastic proposals – including from space companies here in this room – that are still being considered.

There will no doubt be more exciting announcements in the not too distant future.

But I also come to you today with some other announcements that I’m very confident will growth right across the space sector.

Since becoming the Minister responsible for the Australian Space Agency – and civil space more broadly – I’ve been heartened by just how diverse and vibrant this sector is.

Now, it’s not completely new to me. Having been the Minister for Defence Industry for some time, I’m very familiar with the work that many of you do and how it serves to benefit our nation.

In fact, with my two portfolios I often like to say “I get to wear two hats” – both a “Defence Space” hat and a “Civil Space” one.  

But today, I come to you with a commitment to do away with the two hats when it comes to space, and bring the sector under the one umbrella.

I have tasked the Australian Space Agency with developing a unified national Strategy to shape the sector for the next two decades and beyond. 

The Space Strategic Update – or S-S-U as I’m calling it – will provide a vision through to the 2040s that will align efforts across the nation as we transition Australia into a leading space player. 

This strategic work will address the calls from you – the industry – to provide a more cohesive and unified national space industry.

The space sector in Australia has seen a rapid rise since our Government established the Australian Space Agency in 2018.

So much has been achieved – achievements many didn’t think were possible just a few short years ago.

But we must always look forward … and this update will see the sector rocket ahead even further.

The puns in this portfolio are fantastic!

The S-S-U will you and your investors further confidence in the Australian space sector, as we look to deliver on our mission to triple the sector’s size to $12 billion dollars and create as many as 20,000 extra jobs by 2030.

Through the S-S-U, the Australian Space Agency will enhance the coordination of investments… whether that’s across states and territories, across government, or between our science, civil and defence activities.

Now, of course, this doesn’t mean civil space priorities will dictate what we do when it comes to Defence.

Defence rightly has priorities that are focused on keeping our nation safe and secure.

But the S-S-U will ensure that as we develop our sovereign space capability, we have the Australian businesses there ready to deliver it – from research and design through to manufacture.

It will also give the whole-of-sector insight that we need as a Government to make decisions on future funding opportunities – and ensure the money we are spending across portfolios is complementary and not duplicated. 

As industry you will play a critical role in the development of the S-S-U. This is not just another bureaucratic exercise. I promise you that. 

The Space Agency will engage with industry over the next 18 months to deliver the S-S-U. 

And of course it will build on the very valuable feedback you gave to the recent House of Representatives inquiry.

I don’t need to tell this audience that space is going through a generational change – with the rise of commercial space operators. . 

This change is increasing in speed and consequence. It is essential that we update our strategy to account for and – more importantly – benefit from this change.

I have a real sense of urgency that we need to be more globally competitive to position ourselves to take advantage of the space opportunities. 

The Morrison Government knows that you can’t achieve any form of economic success without rock-solid fundamentals – and the space sector is no different.

That is why on top of the Space Strategic Update, I’m also announcing today that partial cost recovery for launch applications will no longer be introduced.

As many of you know, partial cost recovery was deferred through to July this year. 

Instead of allowing cost recovery to come into effect, or deferring it again – we’re abolishing launch permit application fees entirely. 

We’ve taken this decision to provide you with the certainty you need to invest, and to help our small and medium-sized space businesses continue to grow.

The Morrison Government is determined to see Australia realise its potential as a leading launch destination.

Just last week, the Prime Minister and I were here in Adelaide announcing a range of new initiatives to achieve exactly that.

From investing in new spaceports … to securing space flights so our Aussie tech can hitch a ride and test and showcase its capability … to getting Aussie astronauts into space – we’re investing money where it’s needed to make a real difference.

And while we know removing partial cost recovery will build on last week’s announcement … it alone can’t be our only improvement to regulations if we’re to realise our launch potential.

That is why I’ve also tasked the Agency with strengthening the environment around those regulations, to identify improvements to procedures and practices, and to streamline interaction with industry.

It is part of our Government’s commitment to cut red tape and ease the burden on Australian businesses.

I don’t take a backwards step when it comes to support our growing industries. 

When I said that to many of you at the Southern Space Symposium in Canberra last year, I meant it. 

As the Minister for Defence Industry for just more than three years now, I have systematically gone about identifying and knocking down the legacy barriers to the growth of our Aussie defence capabilities.

I’ve also been very clear-eyed about what the enablers are for developing our sovereign defence industry and implementing them. 

I don’t shy away from this work, or the tough decisions, and I’m absolutely committed to doing just that for our space sector too. 

I believe we are at a critical point in time for the Australian space industry. 

We have been through the start-up phase. Now it is time to scale up.

We believe that investment in space is central to Australia’s future.

And from where I’m standing – the future looks very bright.

Thank you.