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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2543 ..


The recent announcement to locate the Space Agency in the ACT highlighted a number of associated research entities and businesses that are already working here in Canberra. These include a considerable level of private and public space infrastructure already in Canberra, including the Optus ground station in Hume; the Canberra deep space communication centre; and the national computational infrastructure supercomputer, as mentioned, at the ANU. Other infrastructure includes the advanced instrumentation and technology centre and EOS laser ranging telescope at Stromlo and the design facility and Falcon telescope at UNSW Canberra.

The ACT government continues to work with Google’s Project Wing and NASA on flight algorithm and drone delivery testing in Canberra. I am confident this work will benefit the application of machine learning in flight and also advance into autonomous vehicle navigation applications later on.

Bringing together all of these agencies to promote opportunities in space research will provide a rich employment and learning opportunity here in the nation’s capital. I congratulate the Chief Minister for the work he has done to promote the Australian Space Agency setting up here and I congratulate Ms Cheyne for this important motion.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (4.04): I have always loved space. Rocketing into space to discover our universe is the stuff of dreams, my childhood dreams. I will admit that even now I think it is pretty cool.

For generations there have been countless exciting, amazing scientific discoveries about our universe coming from the national space agencies of the United States and Europe. What that has meant in practice is that every young kid peering through a telescope in their backyard, dreaming of a career in space, has had to realise those dreams elsewhere. It has always been a peculiarity that Australia was the only OECD country that did not have a space agency. Australia has always considered itself a pioneering country. Why have we never ventured into space or its studies as a nation?

We have finally established our own Space Agency. I would like to take a very brief moment to congratulate the federal government on establishing the agency and locating it in Canberra, at least for the first six months, as well as congratulating the ACT government for its continued work to lobby on this front.

Space and space work are not all about exploration or knowledge for the sake of knowledge. A large part of the agency’s work is straight policy. But underlying policy is real scientific endeavour. Things like satellites are an integral part of our daily lives. They help our farmers monitor their crops to determine the best time to harvest. They collect weather data. They venture to the furthest reaches of our galaxy. They provide internet connection. They even provide information about our ozone layer. And I defy anyone to say they have never used GPS.

However, humans are a curious species. We often look up at the stars and wonder what else is out there. Space is the final frontier, a never-ending expanse with millions of worlds and quite likely other life forms. I am prepared to go out on a limb and call it: there is life out there. Put that one into Hansard. Exploration and knowledge must


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