23 June 2021

I rise today to support the new and promising Australian space industry. There's nothing that excites or captures the imagination quite like boldly going where no person has gone before. The measures that the government are taking with the establishment of the Australian Space Agency that I had the pleasure of visiting recently and in supporting this fledgling sector have the backing of me and the Labor Party.

We know that space is projected to be a $1 trillion to $2 trillion industry by the 2040s. One interesting statistic is that, presently, there are around 3,700 satellites orbiting earth. In the next five years, that will grow to 100,000 satellites. That is a phenomenal increase. It's prudent to lay the framework—given this stratospheric rise in space—for an Australian space industry today, so that we may capitalise on and take part in the booming industry of tomorrow. It's incumbent on us to uphold the unwritten contract between the generations—to ensure that our children enter a better world than we did. Investments in the space industry will provide exciting, well-paid jobs for our children and grandchildren and theirs, if we do this right. They may even enter a better galaxy than we did.

Our children may work for the new Australian Space Agency, participating in home-grown and NASA missions, and continue the legacy of the regional New South Wales workers who, out at Parkes, supported the moon landing by broadcasting from the now famous dish. The Australian Space Agency is currently under the capable leadership of Enrico Palermo, who I had the pleasure of meeting with in beautiful Adelaide. Enrico has spent the last 14 years working within the US space sector and he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Australia, having been responsible for the construction and testing of a fleet of commercial spacecraft. Now he's come home, to Australia.

Our children may work in my electorate of Paterson, at Technology Place, Williamtown, in Australia's premier defence technology estate. The possibilities for well-paid research and manufacturing jobs in the space sector are boundless. There's nothing more exciting to think about than the technologies we see on our screens in science fiction becoming a reality in our world, and we've already got the Hunter producing vital space innovation.

A friend of mine, who I first met while working at the University of Newcastle, Kim Ellis Hayes, was a finalist for Academic of the Year at this year's Space Awards, which I recently attended. Kim has been a distinguished contributor to the realm of space law, dividing her time between here and the US. Despite the challenges of COVID, she has continued making a significant contribution to Australia. Her work is essential for Australia and for us having a stake in space and establishing our space sovereignty. And there's nothing more exciting to see than a friend and a local's name flash up on a big screen as a finalist in something like the Australian Space Awards, let me assure you. Well done, Kim.

But it's about more than just directly working in space industries, because advances in space are going to improve countless sectors right here on earth, and especially here in Australia. Currently Australia's satellite system assists in mining and agriculture, supporting industries that make up the backbone of Australia and employ thousands in my electorate. They monitor the climate and help protect us from freak weather events.

What have we got to look forward to? Well, through my committee work, I have had the privilege of meeting companies such as Solar Space Technologies. Recently founded, this Australian based company has the ambitious objective of delivering solar power generating satellites into orbit by 2027. They want to connect to the grid and power us through solar rays unimpeded by cloud. There is no cloud out in space. Solar Space Technologies want to take this country to touch the stars and bring the sun's energy direct to earth. We've got Gilmour Space doing incredible work, and Southern Launch sending satellites from regional South Australia. There is so much opportunity and there is so much innovation happening right now.

So these are the reasons we need to lend our support to this growing sector, and I lend my support to this motion from the member for Lindsay.