6th South Australia Space Forum

South Australia has a real sense of momentum behind its space industry, with some of the fastest-growing startups and companies working right here in SA. 

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First let me acknowledge the Kaurna People as the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathered.

I pay my respects to their elders, past and present.

I also acknowledge:

  • The Honourable Karen Andrews, MP, Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, who will speak to you by video immediately after me
  • Anthony Murfett, Deputy Head, Australian Space Agency
  • Professor Caroline McMillen, Chief Scientist for South Australia
  • Michael Davis, Chairman of the Space Industry Association of Australia
  •  Nicola Sasanelli, Director, South Australian Space Industry Centre
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

It’s my absolute pleasure to welcome you to the 6th South Australia Space Forum.

With 480 registered attendees, this forum is by far the biggest yet.

That’s a fantastic indication of the momentum behind South Australia’s space industry.


Great strides continue to be made in the space industry since the last forum in April.

Notably, Australia’s first space agency was established.

This sent a powerful message to the rest of the world that we are serious about the development of a competitive space sector.

A national agency is something South Australia has long advocated.

We eagerly wait to hear where the agency will be headquartered.

I thank all those who have contributed to the strong case South Australia has put for the agency to be headquartered here.

We are also proud to collaborate on a national level with both the Australian Space Agency and the Space Industry Association of Australia to support this ever-growing forum.

Our space industry is growing at an unprecedented rate.

In South Australia today, this exciting sector has around 70 companies and organisations, supporting a workforce of over 800 people.

Some of the fastest-growing Australian start-ups and companies are working right here in this thriving environment.

Many of our local companies and research organisations are also playing a lead role in the global space market.

In this respect, it was certainly a proud moment for South Australia when Fleet launched its first two satellites on-board Rocket Lab in New Zealand.

This represented a huge milestone for the company and Australia’s space industry, as well as other industries that will benefit from this technology.

Great progress is also being made in building collaborations between industry and researchers.

For example, a South Australian idea led by the University of South Australia and Nova Group, to establish a cooperative research centre (known as the SmartSat CRC), has the potential to transform the future of our nation’s space industry.

I’m told this idea was born over a couple of beers.

It’s now one of six proposals under consideration for funding by the Australian Government and I am confident it will pass stage two of the selection process.

You will be able to hear more about this project later today.


I don’t have to convince this room that the possibilities of space are infinite.

As some of today’s speakers will discuss, space technology has the potential to unlock new markets and future growth opportunities in other industries like agriculture, mining, construction and defence.

It’s estimated almost 1.5 million Australian companies could benefit from space technology.

This is what can happen from connecting providers of space technology with everyday businesses.

Working together on synergistic innovation will lead to real solutions and improve our lives.

This is what this forum encourages.


As further evidence of this industry’s growth, I’m now pleased to make an announcement that sets a very positive tone for today’s Forum discussions.

It is that Adelaide company, Southern Launch, is one step closer to establishing Australia’s first polar rocket launch facility.

This follows the selection of Whalers Way, 35 minutes’ drive from Port Lincoln, as the preferred launch site.

This site will specialise in polar and sun-synchronous launches to complement other potential launch facilities in Northern Australia.

It will provide the opportunity for local and international companies to launch their rockets and satellites over the Great Australian Bight in a way that is safe, sustainable and environmentally sound.

I congratulate Lloyd and the team at Southern Launch on this fantastic achievement.

It will no doubt serve as an important space asset for South Australia, benefiting the local and global space industry, driving investment and creating new jobs.

  • Conclusion

The project milestone Southern Launch has reached is further evidence that our State is becoming a prominent player in the space industry nationally and internationally.

This is a goal my Government shares with you.

Thanks again to all of you for attending today.

I hope you enjoy the Forum, which will no doubt stimulate some interesting discussions.

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