The Queensland government has launched an $8 million plan to position the state as a leader in space technologies.
The Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning hopes that by 2025, Queensland’s space industry will be recognised as a leading centre in Australasia for launch activities, ground systems, Earth observation, niche manufacturing, robotics and automation for space.
The new Queensland space industry strategy sets out two priorities to achieve this vision, the first being to strengthen the state’s infrastructure, human, and commercial capabilities.
In regards to bolstering human capability, the department will collaborate with government agencies, industry, and the education sector, to develop space industry-related skills and promote clear career pathways and internships into Queensland’s space industry.
The plan highlights the opportunity for defence veterans to access employment in Queensland’s space and wider aerospace industry, and for government departments to support STEM education.
The second strategy priority is to grow Queensland’s industry by connecting it to new markets, including international markets. It aims to connect industry to upstream industries, while leveraging downstream industries through space-enabled services.
Under this priority, the department hopes to advance a memorandum of understanding with the Australian Space Agency. It will also encourage government agencies to use space-enabled services, and will identify regulatory and non-regulatory barriers in Queensland that prevent the uptake of space-enabled services.
Minister for State Development Cameron Dick says that while Queensland is already “Australia’s space coast”, the strategy will allow its space industry to enter a new growth phase.
“Our state has a respected high-tech aerospace industry, and is renowned globally for civil and military aviation, advanced manufacturing, and associated industries like mining equipment, technology and services ,” he says.
“This gives us a strong foundation to extend our reach when it comes to space-related activities such as robotics, automation, systems design, and the launching of payloads.
“Now is the right time to support Queensland’s endeavours to secure our lead place in Australia’s space race.”
The state’s space industry currently supports more than 2000 full-time equivalent jobs, according to the strategy, and generates $760 million in annual revenue, with a further $500 million in value added to downstream industries through space-enabled services. It could potentially support up to 6000 jobs by 2036 and add between $3.5 billion to $6 billion to the state economy.
According to the plan, Queensland’s key growth areas including leveraging its industry and geographical strengths to grow the space industry, strengthening its existing space capability to be world-class and competitive, and connecting state organisations to the growing global space economy.
Industry-wide challenges, on the other hand, include infrastructure, awareness of Australia’s space industry, human capability, and connectivity across the supply chain.