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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 April 2018) . . Page.. 1222 ..


Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (10.46): I thank Ms Lawder for bringing forward this motion. I will obviously be supporting Mr Gentleman’s amendment to it. I thank Ms Lawder not only for giving us the opportunity to note the significant achievement we will mark next year on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission but also for giving me the opportunity to speak about two of my interests: heritage and industry and innovation.

Minister Gentleman spoke about Honeysuckle Creek, as does Ms Lawder’s motion. The humble site and small clearing on a mountain ridge may have only included four functional buildings—the main operations building, the power building, the antenna transmission building, and an antenna pad and a shed—but these buildings connected our community to the universe.

The story of Australia’s involvement in space research and exploration is commonly understood by many Australians to be via the famous dish in New South Wales, but, as we know, it was Honeysuckle Creek right here in the ACT that beamed footage of Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on the moon.

The importance of Honeysuckle Creek is recognised through its inclusion on the ACT heritage register, with information at the site and content online educating people on its importance. I was pleased to learn that the National Museum of Australia has included Honeysuckle Creek’s role in the moon landing as one of its defining moments in our history.

Unfortunately, all that remains physically of the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station is its foundations. The physical links to the ACT’s connection to space research and exploration, however, live on at the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Communication Complex, a joint facility with NASA. Today, Tidbinbilla attracts tourists from near and far. The self-guided museum at Tidbinbilla tells the story of the ACT’s involvement in space research and exploration. Indeed, a dish that was previously used at Honeysuckle Creek is at the site.

The fact that buildings at Honeysuckle Creek no longer stand is of course disappointing, but as preparations begin for the 50th anniversary celebrations of Apollo 11, we have a blank canvas for us to remember and celebrate the work undertaken at this important historical site in the ACT.

As we look back on our community’s place in this significant part of Canberra’s and humankind’s space history, it is also fitting to look forward to the role we can play in the future. We have the skills, talent and facilities to build a substantial space industry right here in the nation’s capital to ensure that Canberra is Australia’s space capital.

Canberra is home to many of the nation’s space industry leaders. We have led the debate in Australia over a national space industry policy. I believe that Canberra should and can be the heart of Australia’s space capabilities. The ACT government has made a clear commitment to work with our higher education institutions and industry to support and foster the development of a space industry in Australia and in our city.


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