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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2513 ..

decision-making, I was very heartened to hear from my federal colleagues that federal Labor has already announced its very sensible position that the agency should be based in Canberra and would be based in Canberra under a federal Labor government. I hope that becomes a bipartisan position at the conclusion of this commonwealth process. I think this is an issue that is beyond party politics; it is about the future of this industry in Australia and the future contribution the city of Canberra can make, and that is a very significant contribution.

I hope that this motion today will receive unanimous support across the chamber. We can all lobby our respective colleagues on the big hill to make the right decision, but I can say the ACT government will continue to support the development of the space industry in the territory. Speaking as a Labor chief minister I am pleased that my federal Labor colleagues are already over the line on this important issue. I commend Ms Cheyne for her motion today and hope it receives unanimous support from Assembly members.

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (12.22): I am pleased that the Assembly will today be passing this very important motion. The ACT has long been the centre of the space industry in Australia with heavy involvement in some of the great space exploration missions of our time. Within just 20 or so kilometres from this place is, of course, the Tidbinbilla tracking station, the only NASA-operated facility in the country. Canberra scientific manpower is something we are very proud of. We are home of both the Australian National University, a global leader in science programs specialising in physics, engineering and astronomy, and the University of New South Wales Canberra campus also adds to our scientific prowess as a territory. Both institutions have made the ACT a hub of astronomical research over the past 50 years.

A clear benefit of basing the Australian Space Agency in Canberra is the infrastructure that already exists. Examples, of course, include the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre and the National Computational Infrastructure supercomputer, both located at the ANU. These programs are leading the nation in high performance computing and data capability and the development of next-generation instruments for astronomy and space science.

Space exploration, despite numerous achievements over the past 50 years, is still in its infancy. It has long been stated that the future of humanity resides in space and, whether this is true or not, it is certainly a motivator for many people. It presents a real opportunity for the Australian Space Agency in Canberra. Our territory is the diplomatic centre of the nation, allowing for close cooperation between foreign nations, something that is, of course, pivotal for space exploration and space programs.

Canberra has a thriving industry in defence and aerospace, and the Canberra Liberals were proud to recognise this in our last election campaign. Further, the commonwealth has for many years had an interest in space. Formerly there was an Australian Space Office, an Australian Space Council and a national space program. The Menzies government did very important work in this field too. More recently the commonwealth had a space policy unit, FedSat and numerous other related entities and programs.

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