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19 Jul 2019

Federal Lyons MP Brian Mitchell is calling on the federal government to properly fund Australia’s space agency, and says Tasmania has a significant role to play in the global trillion-dollar industry.

Mr Mitchell said the time was ripe for the Morrison government to take action following the visit by Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz to the Canadian Space Agency.

“Eric Abetz and I wouldn’t agree on much but we would agree that Tasmania has a lot to offer Australia’s emerging space industry,” said Mr Mitchell, whose electorate is home to the Greenhill Observatory.

“It is important that the government not drag its heels on this, like it has on renewable energy which has seen Australia miss out on thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment.”

Industry experts have come together to urge the government to invest more in the Australian Space Agency to ensure it is competitive and productive.

“Australia’s contribution to space research is critical to the success of global space operations,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Neither NASA nor the European Space Agency would be able to operate their deep space missions without ground support from Australia.

“Tasmania has significant expertise and contributes substantially to the global space industry. It’s time the Australian government resourced and supported an Australian space industry properly.

“NASA has an annual budget of $30 billion and Canada’s Space Agency has a budget of around $330 million.

“The Morrison Government says it wants our domestic space industry to be worth $12 billion by 2030 but this will not happen without more commitment and funding.”

Investments in space industries have an enormous and diverse return on investment. They lead to advancements in things like GPS, virtual reality, water filters and pacemakers.

“Every dollar spent on the Apollo program returned $7 to $8 to the US economy. Today every $1 invested generates around $40.

“Tasmania is well placed to contribute to the Australian and global space industry. We just need the Australian government to take it seriously and increase federal funding.”  

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