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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2514 ..

Canberra is the home of the federal public service and my colleagues and I will always advocate for this. It is something I have made very clear to my federal colleagues in personal communication but also through the media. With close cooperation between federal agencies, the dream of an Australian space agency is a reality, and its achievements can be real. Canberra has a real strength in this area, and is unmatched by other states and territories.

The economic benefits of such a program to the ACT are not to be underestimated. A space agency will create hundreds of jobs as well as opportunities for our youth to excel in the areas of science and mathematics. Of course, it would be a great advantage for the ACT that would allow the ACT to continue to be a leader in space industry and academic research.

I have written to the Prime Minister to encourage him to permanently base the Australian Space Agency in Canberra and to inform him of the benefits the territory would bring to the agency and also the benefits the agency would bring to Canberra. I have also been in contact with Senator Michaelia Cash, the minister overseeing the program, who has assured me that the ACT will be assessed on its merits. I believe that will lead to the ACT winning this process.

Space is and will continue to be the final frontier of human exploration. I want to acknowledge every scientist, physicist, engineer and industry professional who has contributed to the ACT in this industry over the past 50 years. Canberra continues to be a leader in this area and I believe the success of the Australian space program will be best achieved by basing the agency in the ACT. I look forward to working with my federal colleagues and with other members of this place to ensure that the agency is established permanently in Canberra.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.28 to 2.30 pm.

Ministerial arrangements

MR BARR: As members are aware, Minister Fitzharris is in Alice Springs chairing the health ministerial council. In Minister Fitzharris’s absence, Minister Rattenbury will take questions in the health portfolio. On his birthday, Minister Gentleman will take questions in Transport and City Services. I will take questions in Higher Education, Training and Research.

MADAM SPEAKER: That is a birthday gift to remember, Mr Gentleman.

Questions without notice

Land—Dickson land swap

MR COE: My question is to the Chief Minister. I refer to comments by the Auditor-General during estimates, on 22 June, about the Tradies land swap. The

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