Space Industry Development

Australia is undergoing significant change in its industrial landscape, from a structure characterised by lower value-add activities to an advanced economy that cultivates and commercialises innovative ideas. Space technologies can play an important role in facilitating this transition where the operating environment for business activity is conducive to productivity and competitiveness.

Advancements in technology are driving significant disruption in the business of space. Commercial exploitation of space is now available to more people outside of governments and large corporations. Consequently, the number of private enterprises involved in activities such as the manufacture, launch and operation of small satellites, is increasing globally. Private enterprises are also developing technologies for new markets such as space tourism and mining.

Commonwealth Involvement

In an environment of technological disruption and structural change, the department is undertaking activities that seek to gain a better understanding of the operating environment for Australia’s space industry. These activities inform Government policies that provide the right conditions for entrepreneurs and businesses to innovate and capitalise on their space-related activities. For example, the department:

  • is reviewing the Space Activities Act 1998 , which will assess whether existing legislative arrangements remain relevant to current and future advancements in space technologies while ensuring Australia meets its international obligations for the use of space.
  • commissioned a study which provides an evidence-base of current Australian industry capability in civil space.

Space Concession

The Space Concession programme provides duty-free entry of goods imported for use in a "space project", provided certain conditions are met. The main policy objective of the Item 41 concession is to increase the competitiveness of the space industry in Australia, while ensuring compliance with international obligations.

It is intended to facilitate the transfer to Australia of sophisticated space related technology and technical expertise. It is expected to be of significant benefit to companies proposing to establish and develop operations in the high technology, high value-added space sector in Australia.

Please visit business.gov.au for more information about the Programme.

Cooperative Research Centres

The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Programme supports industry-led collaborations between researchers, industry and the community. The CRC Programme was established in 1990. Since then CRCs have developed important new technologies, products and services that help solve major economic, environmental and social challenges facing Australia.

There are currently two space-related CRCs:

  • CRC for Spatial Information – supports industry-led research collaboration in spatial information and Earth observation.
  • Space Environment Management CRC (managed by the Space Environment Research Centre) – strengthens Australia’s national capabilities in space situational awareness and management of space debris.

State Government involvement

State governments are undertaking key initiatives:

  • The South Australian Government, through Defence SA, has launched its Space Innovation and Growth Strategy (South Australia) Action Plan 2016 – 2020 and its South Australian Space Capability Directory. The Action Plan and Capability Directory can be accessed from the Defence SA website.
  • The ACT Government is working with Australia’s space sector to develop a Space Innovation Cluster to help build a significant national industry. The ACT Government paper The High Growth Potential Of Australia’s Space Economy can be accessed from the ACT Government website.

Industry Associations

The Australian space industry is represented by a number of industry associations. The following organisations may provide information, resources, programmes, training, networking opportunities and other services to help your business:

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