While it wasn’t the rumoured $50 million for the establishment of an Australian space agency, the Budget has set out $41 million over four years from 2018-2019 to “grow the Australian space industry”.
The money is divided between the establishment of a national space agency, which will “coordinate domestic space activities for Australia” at a cost of $26 million. The remaining $15 million over three years from 2019-20 is aimed at building the International Space Investment project, “which will provide grants to strategic space projects that generate employment and business opportunities for Australians.”
The national space agency will be the first time Australia has had a dedicated space program and allows the country to innovate in emerging areas of space technology such as low-cost CubeSats - a type of miniaturised satellite for space research.
A related item in the Budget puts $225 million over four years into improving the accuracy of GPS systems across the country, to between three and 10 centimetres.
According to the Budget, this will “deliver benefits to regional Australians including reduced cost and increased farming yields through precision farming techniques, navigation on fishing trawlers, and increasing the ease and safety of maritime navigation, especially in congested waters.”