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Space Activities Amendment (Launches and Returns) Bill 2018

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(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Jobs and Innovation,

Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash)


This addendum responds to consideration of the Space Activities Amendment (Launches and Return) Bill 2018 (the Bill) by the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills (the Committee).

In its Scrutiny Digest No. 6 of 2018 the Committee sought advice from the Minister regarding advice as to:

·          why it is necessary and appropriate that the rules incorporate documents as in force or existing from time to time, rather than as in force or existing at a particular time (for example, when the rules are made);

·          the type of documents that it is envisaged may be applied, adopted or incorporated by reference in rules made under proposed section 110; and

·          whether these documents will be made freely available to all persons interested in the law.

In Scrutiny Digest No. 8 of 2018 , released on 15 August 2018, the Committee requested that the information provided by the Minister in response to its request be included in the explanatory memorandum to the Bill.


Schedule 1—Main Amendments

Space Activities Act 1998

Item 187: Section 110

After paragraph 218 (page 32), insert:

218A.  Rules will be disallowable legislative instruments. Several rules are proposed in relation to a number of subjects including defining high power rockets, fees and insurance, and requirements for licences and permits.

After paragraph 219 (page 32), insert:

219A.  It is necessary and appropriate that the proposed rules incorporate documents as in force or existing from time to time to increase the flexibility of the instrument to respond to the rapidly evolving nature of space technologies (therefore supporting the growth of the sector), and the need to agilely review and update insurance in response to safety and market interests.  

219B.  Documents such as the Flight Safety Code and the Maximum Probable Loss Methodology are envisaged being applied, adopted, or incorporated by reference into the proposed rules.

219C.  For example, the definition for ‘high power rocket’ will be prescribed by the rules. This provides the flexibility for the definition to be readily updated when necessary to maintain currency with changing practice. It is anticipated that this proposed rule will incorporate by reference the Flight Safety Code. The Flight Safety Code may also be incorporated by reference in proposed rules dealing with the application process for (for example) launches to space; as it sets out requirements for applicants to demonstrate that their proposed launch activities will be safe and effective. Flexibility is needed in case safety requirements change.

219D.  Insurance required for each launch or return will be specified in the rules, noting that the amount will not exceed $100 million. Moving the detail of the insurance requirements to the rules allows for greater flexibility to update requirements as the nature of space activities evolves. It is anticipated that this proposed rule will incorporate by reference the Maximum Probable Loss Methodology as this is a method for determining insurance requirements based on risks and potential consequences during phases of flight of space vehicles beginning at ignition and ending either on orbit, impact or recovery.

219E.  All documents applied, adopted, or incorporated by reference into the rules will be made freely available on the Australian Space Agency website. Where documents relate to licensing they will be identified on the Australian Business Licence and Information Service website.

219F.   All explanatory statements will include information about the incorporated documents, and where they can be freely accessed in accordance with the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances' Guideline on incorporation of documents .