Fewer barriers for space industry: govt

Rebecca Gredley
(Australian Associated Press)

 

With one small step by MPs, the Australian space industry has taken a great leap toward meeting global standards.

The government passed legislation in the lower house on Monday to cut the red tape and to reduce the barriers preventing Australian businesses from participating in the industry.

Assistant minister for investment Mark Coulton said the bill would help Australian businesses increase their current 0.8 per cent slice of the $345 billion global space economy.

The legislation streamlines approvals for launches, provides a regulatory framework for launches of high power rockets, and will significantly reduce the minimum insurance amount for authorised launches.

Labor MP Richard Marles said the bill could have been broader, but was hopeful the nation’s focus on space exploration would keep the economy up to speed with developments in technology.

“It is a first step down a path that we as a nation need to travel,” he said.

“It is a deeply inspiring activity and it can play a huge role in encouraging more of our young people to take up science.”

Since the launch of an Australian Space Agency in May, states and territories have put their hands up to host the agency’s headquarters.

The agency has $26 million funding over four years, as well as a $15 million fund to invest in international space missions so Australian businesses can benefit.

MPs used the debate over the bill on Thursday to spruik for their regions to host the agency, while Liberal MP Tim Wilson enthused “the future is going to be awesome”.

Labor MP Tony Zappia said the federal government should not pit states and territories against each other.

“Regardless of the location, each can contribute to the work,” he said.

The agency is calling the nation’s capital home until a permanent base is chosen.

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