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Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Page: 4875

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Mr TEHAN (WannonMinister for Social Services) (09:44): I» «move» :

That this bill «be» «now» «read» «a» «second» «time .

On 24 October 2015, the Turnbull government announced that we would review the Space Activities Act 1998.

The aim of the review was to ensure that Australia's space regulation accommodates technological advancements and does not unnecessarily inhibit innovation in Australia's space capabilities.

The review concluded in November 2016.

It found that the Space Activities Act should have additional flexibility to accommodate the changing operating environment for space activities and support innovation and investment in the sector.

The Space Activities Amendment (Launches and Returns) Bill does just that.

It reduces red tape for businesses undertaking space-related activities in Australia.

The Turnbull government is committed to ensuring businesses are able to grow and create more jobs without the burden of unnecessary red tape.

The bill will support innovation and investment and provide additional flexibility to adjust to the changing operational environment of the space industry, while balancing safety and risk of potential damage with the national interest.

The global space sector is worth over US$345 billion, and growing at 10 per cent annually.

Australian businesses represent just 0.8 per cent of this industry internationally: a disproportionately small share considering our immense capability in space-related sectors, including our immense advanced manufacturing capability, and our world-leading work in fields such as automated mining and precision agriculture.

Combined with our expertise, the extraordinary growth of this global industry makes it vital for Australian businesses to be able to participate with minimal regulatory burden, while maintaining Australia's international obligations.

I would like to thank all stakeholders who have participated in the review's consultation processes, as well as the subsequent consultations on an appropriate legislative framework.

Today's introduction of the Space Activities Amendment (Launches and Returns) Bill 2018is the culmination of these processes.

The bill broadens the regulatory framework to unlock potential further opportunities for space sector growth in Australia and reduce barriers to participation in the space industry.

It will bring us in line with agreed international practice and standards by streamlining the approvals process and insurance requirements for launches and returns.

The bill will encourage our businesses to innovate, invest and create jobs.

The global space sector is a major source of technological advancement that provides broader applications and benefits across industry and society—not just in space exploration, but in sectors spanning communications, defence, mining, transportation and agriculture, to name but a few.

This bill will allow our emerging space industry to keep pace with international and technological developments, while updating and streamlining regulation to encourage private investment.

It will create a more flexible regulatory environment to make it easier for these businesses to tap into global supply chains and access the benefits on offer for all Australians.

To reflect the changing nature of launch facilities, the bill includes licensing arrangements for launches from Australian aircraft in flight, in addition to more traditional ground launches.

The bill also provides appropriate safeguards to mitigate the risk of damage from the launch or return of a space object, or from the launch of a high power rocket.

This bill will enable Australian business to engage more fully with the global space industry, supporting extraordinary opportunities to create jobs right across the economy.

I commend the bill to the chamber.

Debate adjourned.