Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2544 ..
be an integral aim of the Space Agency, alongside things like satellite monitoring and usage. The natural home for such an agency, focused on both technological advancement and the pursuit of knowledge, is of course Canberra.
We are the interim home of the agency, but it is clear to all involved that we should be the permanent home. First, we have the infrastructure already. Mount Stromlo Observatory is one of the finest in the world, with a globally respected community of researchers. Work conducted by Professor Brian Schmidt at the ANU national space testing facilities at Mount Stromlo led to him being awarded the Nobel Prize. Now Professor Schmidt is the vice-chancellor of the ANU and he strongly supports Canberra as the home of the Space Agency.
If the ANU facilities at Mount Stromlo and a Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist are not enough to convince the federal government that Canberra should be the home of the Space Agency, well, we have more. UNSW Canberra Space, which is Australia’s largest leading space research and education team, calls the capital its home. Indeed, UNSW is expanding its footprint in Canberra, with a proposed new campus of 10,000 students with a focus on increased space research and an innovation precinct. It would make perfect sense to locate the national Space Agency near Australia’s two leading universities for space research to allow collaboration and foster opportunity.
Canberra is also home to all the major commonwealth government agencies that will be important partners. Defence, foreign affairs, Attorney-General’s, industry, innovation and science, CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the NASA deep space tracking station are all located right here. We are also home to industry giants like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, as well as a host of commercial players like Geospatial Intelligence, Geoplex and Skykraft, just to name a few.
The ACT government is dedicated to ensuring that our space exploration facilities are cutting edge. After the Canberra bushfires devastated the Mount Stromlo Observatory, it was rebuilt. We have dedicated almost $10 million over three years to support the growth of key sectors, including space. Just last week, we announced an extra $250,000 to provide greater access for local space sector businesses to the observatory and the researchers there. We are fostering links between researchers and business to promote collaboration. Our research and our satellites can only get better by bringing these groups together.
We are, of course, prepared to work with other state and territory governments in the space sector. Canberra’s leafy suburbs are not the best place to launch a rocket. Each state has its own strengths. Canberra has long acted as a fulcrum, bringing together the skills and assets from each state and using them to pursue a joint goal. We will do the same with the Space Agency, bringing robotics expertise from WA, the defence industry manufacturing of SA and the positioning and remoteness of the NT and Queensland under one agency in Canberra, harnessing their collective energy to travel into that final frontier.
The creation of the national Space Agency is a wonderful thing. We are deciding to pursue knowledge, providing jobs and scientific advancement. We should not sully this one with politicking. We are setting up an industry for Australia. We need to