Australia’s First National Space Mission Central to Budget 2022-23

CANBERRA (Australian Government PR) — The Morrison Government is establishing Australia’s first ever national space mission as part of our plan for a stronger future. This is an historic investment that will strengthen our sovereign capability as well as grow the sector and create hundreds of new jobs.

The 2022-23 Budget includes $1.16 billion [USD $871.6 million] to 2038-39 and $38.5 million [USD $28.9 million] per annum ongoing for the first phase of a National Space Mission for Earth Observation, which will see Australia design, build, and operate four new satellites.

Led by the Australian Space Agency, this Mission will make Australia more self sufficient when it comes to critical Earth Observation data, while also growing capability and job opportunities that will set the industry up for future success.

Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said this was the most significant investment ever made in Australia’s civil space sector.

“The information we get from Earth observation satellites is central to our everyday life – from forecasting the weather and responding to natural disasters through to managing the environment and supporting our farmers,” Minister Price said. 

“This investment reinforces the Morrison Government’s commitment to growing space capability here at home so we can remain safe and secure, and create important economic opportunities.

“This in an investment both for the now and the future of the Australian space sector. 

“Developing and launching these first four Australian satellites will create the foundation of industry know-how for more complex space missions next decade. That means more expertise and more jobs right here in Australia in this critical industry.

“It will also solidify our relationships with like-minded countries so we can continue to draw on the data from their satellites for the benefit of all Australians.”

It is estimated the project will create more than 500 jobs over the first four years of the build phase, with an anticipated supplier network of more than 100 companies from across Australia. 

The National Space Mission will be led by the Australian Space Agency in partnership with Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and Defence.

The Budget also includes:

  • $65.7 million [USD $50.7 million] over five years from 2021-22 to set the conditions for rocket launch from Australia and fast track the launch of space assets and research projects by Australian businesses and researchers;
  • $12.1 million [USD $9.1 million] over five years from 2021-22 (and $0.3 million [USD $225,404] per year ongoing) to remove cost recovery requirements under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 and undertake a regulatory reform program to streamline interactions with industry;
  • $9.5 million [USD $7.1 million] over two years from 2021-22 to develop a Space Strategic Update to provide direction on future funding opportunities and align Australia’s space efforts;
  • $3.0 million [USD $2.25 million] in 2022-23 to extend the International Space Investment initiative and continue building relationships with international space agencies; and 
  • $25.2 million [USD $18.9 million] to expand the International Space Investment initiative and provide funding for Australian businesses and research organisations to work on projects with the Indian Space Research Organisation and the broader Indian space sector.

This funding takes the total amount committed by the Government to the civil space sector to well over $2 billion [USD $1.5 billion] since the Coalition Government established the Australian Space Agency in 2018.

That is in addition to the $85.9 million [US $64.5 million] the Morrison Government has committed to space industry skills and jobs right here in Australia as part of the $1.3 billion [USD $976.7 million] Modern Manufacturing Initiative. 

It’s part of the Government’s commitment to triple the size of the space sector by 2030 to $12 billion [$9 billion] and create an extra 20,000 new jobs.

The Budget also includes $37.4 million [US $28.1 million] to 2025-26 to establish a new CSIRO Research Translation Start program to build further cooperation between our researchers and industry and supercharge their commercialisation journeys.

The Government is investing $63.6 million [USD $47.8 million] to 2025-26 and $1.5 million [USD $1.1 million] per annum ongoing to further support the important work of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), including funding to remediate AIMS’ wharf at Cape Cleveland, south of Townsville, Queensland. 

Minister Price said the Government recognised the incredible role science and technology played in changing lives and creating new industries, and this investment was further proof of their importance.

“We are harnessing science and technology to help our businesses commercialise their great ideas and create the high-value jobs for Australians which we need for the future,” Minister Price said.

“This Budget demonstrates that we are not only shooting for the stars, but also securing our future prosperity here at home through the Morrison Government’s economic recovery plan.”

The Budget also includes: 

  • $33.4 million [USD $25.1 million] over two years from 2021-22 (including $14.4 million [USD $10.8 million] in capital funding) to the National Measurement Institute to deliver essential measurement standards and services that underpin business continuity and international trade;
  • $5.3 million [$4 million] over two years from 2021-22 to improve the National Science and Technology Council’s provision of science and technology advice to the Government and to continue support of the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science event;
  • $4.7 million [USD $3.5 million] over four years from 2022-23 to continue support for the Women in STEM Ambassador initiative and the Future You national digital awareness raising initiative; and
  • $2.0 million [USD $1.5 million] over four years from 2021-22 to extend the Superstars of STEM Program, to continue raising the profile of Australian women in STEM and inspire the next generation.

This year’s Budget builds on the Government’s investments of $12 billion [USD $9 billion] for science, research and innovation related programs and activities in 2020-21 and $11.8 billion [USD $8.9 billion] in last year’s Budget – the two largest ever single annual investments for the sector. 

Alongside this investment, there are a number of specific initiatives the Government has committed to across the sector, including: 

  • $42.4 million [USD $31.9 million] to grow the pool of women in STEM by providing up to 500 university scholarships, co-funded with industry.
  • More than $450 million [USD $338.1 million] in funding for CSIRO to ensure the continuation of critical scientific research in a range of priority areas.
  • More than $530 million [USD $398.2 million] from 2019-20 to 2024-25 for a wide range of ANSTO activities, including research, nuclear medicine production, asset maintenance and waste management.
  • $124 million [USD $93.2 million] to make Australia a world leader in artificial intelligence through the AI Action Plan. 
  • More than $387 million [USD $290.7 million] in funding to meet Australia’s commitments as co-host of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.

The 2022-23 Budget is securing Australia’s future prosperity and helping our industries to grow by harnessing science and technology to deliver a strong economy with more jobs.