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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (18 September) . . Page.. 3695 ..


Government—space industry policy

MS CODY: My question is to the Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Advanced Technology and Space Industries. Minister, why is the space industry important to the territory?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Cody for her interest in new opportunities across the territory. Space is the final frontier that continues to amaze and inspire. While humankind has achieved much, there is still so much more to do. In our nation's history, Canberra has led and had a prominent role in Australia's space endeavours, from the construction of the Oddie telescope dome at Mount Stromlo in 1911, as the first commonwealth building in Canberra, to transmitting the first historic pictures of man walking on the moon in 1969, to the design and manufacture of Australia's first cube satellite in 2017.

We may not launch rockets or have astronauts but our territory has been at the heart of the space industry with communications and other innovations, none more so than the moon landing talked about earlier. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of this historic event. I remember, as a young teenager, the excitement in the room as my dad and his team in PMG played a role as NASA received the images that came from Honeysuckle Creek to Deakin and then to NASA. Since that time this city has built on its success, establishing a thriving and significant space capability.

Opposition members interjecting

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Coe, Mr Hanson, let the minister answer the question.

MR GENTLEMAN: Our city has played a significant role in major space events. This government will work with our companies, scientists, engineers, researchers and the Canberra community to make sure that we continue to play that role into the future. Space has a unique ability to excite and inspire. I thank the Chief Minister for the opportunity to turn a long-held personal interest into a professional one, furthering our territory's endeavours. (Time expired.)

MS CODY: Minister, what contribution does the space industry make to the territory?

MR GENTLEMAN: The space industry contributes a great deal to the ACT in a number of ways. Many technologies originally developed for use in space benefit our lives every day. From the satellite telecommunications we rely on for our GPS and mobile phone networks, through to advancements in biomechanical and biomedical research and more, advancements in technology connected to space research have improved all of our lives as well as our understanding of the universe.

Research connected to space is taking place in Canberra right now across local research institutions and private companies. Beyond the scientific and research benefits, the space industry also means jobs. Globally, the space industry employs tens of thousands of people, is worth more than $400 billion and is expected to grow exponentially into the future. The space industry, through the jobs it creates and the investment it drives into research and development, is increasingly important.


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