National Space Agency in Adelaide

29 Jul 2019 speech

Ms FLINT (Boothby—Government Whip) (10:30): Space is blasting off in South Australia, and there is no-one more excited than me about what the Morrison government is doing to power ahead in this area. Last year I worked very hard to make the case for space in my home state of South Australia. I worked closely with Premier Steven Marshall and the South Australian Liberal team. I met regularly with the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology to fight to have the national space agency based and headquartered in South Australia, and I also ensured that the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure knew that Lot Fourteen, a brand new arts and innovation hub, was a great place to base space. Thanks to the Premier, ministers, my federal colleagues, the member for Grey—and I thank the member for Grey for moving this motion today—the member for Barker, the former member for Sturt and, of course, the Morrison-Liberal government, space in South Australia is taking off.

There were many reasons that I thought Adelaide was the perfect home for space. One of those is our significant defence presence that will, among many other things, see us build the first two offshore patrol vessels, the nine future frigates worth $35 billion and 12 submarines worth $50 billion, all of which will create more than 8,000 jobs in a very similar technology space to the space industry.

South Australia is the home of innovation with world-class teachers and researchers at the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia. Former NASA astronaut, the world-famous Dr Andy Thomas AO, and space expert Andrea Boyd both studied at Adelaide University. I'm lucky to personally know Andrea, who is a mechatronic engineer who works for the European Space Agency where she is a flight controller. I know Andrea through her brother Leighton Boyd, who is the director of a wonderful local community organisation in my electorate, MarionLIFE. It's people like Andrea to whom we will be able to offer work and who we will hopefully be able to keep in Adelaide, and in Australia, once the National Space Agency is fully
up and running.

It made sense to base the space agency in Adelaide, because we already had the training and manufacturing expertise to launch this capability. So, when the Morrison and Marshall Liberal governments announced last year that the headquarters of the National Space Agency would be located at Lot Fourteen, I was both delighted and very excited. The investment in Adelaide includes the Space Infrastructure Fund and the mission control facilities, worth $6 million. This will commence in 2019-20 and will provide a platform for SMEs or researchers to control small satellite missions and to provide access to space-enabled data. On 18 March 2019, the Morrison government also announced that Adelaide would be home to the $6 million Australian Space Discovery Centre
as part of the Adelaide City Deal. The Space Discovery Centre is funded separately and is not part of the Space Infrastructure Fund.

Geoscience Australia have invested $14 million in South Australia over the forward estimates for their ground-station infrastructure, and the new SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre is being headquartered in SA as well. This will create leapfrogging technologies in advance communications and smart satellite systems to build Australia's space infrastructure for advanced communications and connectivity, remote sensing and monitoring for its land, sea and oceans. This is a very significant investment in space for our nation. Our goal is to triple the size of the space industry and to create 20,000 new jobs. The Morrison government is backing the Australian Space Agency with $73.2 million to be provided to the agency all up. We have committed millions elsewhere to support the SmartSat CRC and the Space Infrastructure Fund. Ultimately, this is all about jobs and securing a future for young residents of Australia and particularly of South Australia. It's about giving them a raft of new job opportunities and reasons to stay in SA and in Australia.

I've seen firsthand how inspirational space is to school students, literally across the road from my electorate office in Marion, at Hamilton Secondary College. Some years ago they established the Hamilton Space School, and it is the only designated facility and specialist curriculum to lead space education. It really has to be seen to be believed; it is out of this world. I was delighted to visit with the Premier recently, to see how this facility inspires our next generation of spacemen and women and future leaders.