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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7797


Mr COULTON (ParkesAssistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) (18:16): I would like to thank all honourable members for considering the Space Activities Amendment (Launches and Returns) Bill 2018. In 2015 the government announced a review of the Space Activities Act 1998 to examine the appropriateness and effectiveness of civil space regulation. Since that act was introduced, two decades ago, the space industry has been totally transformed. What was once strictly the domain of government has now become a flourishing private market with far lower barriers to entry. The consideration underpinning this legislative reform was to update the act to ensure it provides for the needs of Australian businesses in this new space industry paradigm. Through this reform, we are ensuring that the Australian space industry is able to engage with emerging opportunities, now and into the future, helping our businesses grow and create jobs without the burden of unnecessary red tape. This bill encourages our space related businesses to innovate, invest and create jobs. It provides Australians with greater access to the global space economy by bringing our regulations in line with agreed international practice and standards.

This is reform with long-term vision, providing for types of launches and returns that are considered imminent and in need of specific requirements. To date, the Space Activities Act 1998 has predominantly supported the launch of satellites from overseas where an Australian national is a responsible party. The bill broadens the regulatory framework to specify anticipated activities, including launches from aircraft in flight and domestic high-power rocket launchers. This reform reflects Australia's rising global prominence accompanying the Turnbull government's establishment of the Australian space agency. It allows our businesses to be at the forefront of space industry development. The bill also updates insurance requirements, bringing them into line with global standards. It requires insurance for space activities and higher power rockets to be no more than $100 million. This is a significant reduction from the highest amount specified in the Space Activities Act 1998—$750 million. The insurance requirement has changed based on levels commensurate with other countries while allowing flexibility for detail to be provided in the rules.

The Turnbull government recognises thorough consultation as key to this process. The rules which will form a critical part of Australia's space regulatory framework will be developed within 12 months of the passage of the bill. This timing allows a considered approach to be taken and appropriate time to engage and consult with stakeholders involved in space activities. Further transitional arrangements are included in the bill so that there is no uncertainty for those undertaking space activities. Details of the updated application requirements and revised fee structure will be included in the rules.

The development of the bill has been informed by extensive consultation, including a public information session, resulting in 69 submissions and the subsequent development of a legislative proposal paper based on further input from stakeholders and submissions in response to the proposed paper. I thank all stakeholders for their participation and support for the bill. The further consultation around the development of the rules will build on this comprehensive process.

The global space economy is worth over US$345 billion per year and is growing at 10 per cent annually. Despite our outstanding capabilities here in Australia, our businesses represent just 0.8 per cent of the global space economy. The passage of this bill will enable Australian industry to grow that share and to seize extraordinary emerging opportunities to create jobs right across the economy. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.