Atmosphere is right for a review of our space activities

24 Oct 2015 Media release

The Australian Government is reviewing legislation governing civil space activities in Australia to ensure it appropriately balances Australia’s international obligations with encouraging industry innovation and entrepreneurship.

The review will help to ensure the sector keeps pace with international change and technological developments without adding unnecessary impediments to private investment.

The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, today announced a staged review of the Space Activities Act 1998 incorporating consultation with governments, researchers, industry and the public.

“Space technologies have advanced significantly since the Act was introduced in 1998,” Mr Pyne said.

“We must ensure Australia’s civil space regulation effectively stimulates innovation and investment in this growing industry sector.

“At the same time we need to be able to effectively meet our international obligations in managing the space environment, for example, the proliferation of space debris.”

International space law expert, Professor Steven Freeland, has been appointed to conduct the review. He has been asked to ensure the review takes the global regulatory setting for the civil space sector into context, and addresses issues like stimulating industry innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mr Pyne said the global space sector was a major source of technology advancements and spin-offs that have wider uses and benefits across industry and society.

“Increasing access to satellite data is improving productivity in mining, agriculture, transport, and energy,” Mr Pyne said.

“Satellite data has become a vital part of emergency disaster response management and monitoring Australia’s long-term environmental health.

“The review will examine whether the legislation provides the right regulatory environment to help Australian firms with space-related capabilities to tap into global supply chains and be in the best position to reap the benefits on offer.

“We need to appropriately manage space activity across the full life-cycle—from launch to re-entry and end-of-life disposal.

“We are already contributing to this with our $19.8 million investment in the CRC for Space Environment Management, a collaborative enterprise between space industries, universities and government bodies from Australia, USA and Japan.”

The review will begin with extensive consultation with Commonwealth Government agencies. Public consultations will be held from February to April 2016.

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