Speaking at the 2023 Australian Space Summit this morning, Enrico Palermo said that the government had “reaffirmed” the role of the ASA despite cutting a promise made by the previous government to invest $32.3 million into Australia’s spaceports and launch sites.
Palermo said that the sector should look upon the situation as an opportunity rather than a crisis.
“As a sector, we’re all familiar with the overview effect, or at least I hope we are — the perspective astronauts get when they look down on Earth from space. And in some respects, I think we need to take the same sense of perspective with regards to this year’s budget,” he said.
“Yes, it’s not the budget we may have hoped for. But the government is still committed to space, and we must use this moment as an opportunity to continue our growth we’ve seen in recent years and transition.
“Other industries have long navigated the ebbs and flows of budgets, and now it’s time for our sector to demonstrate our maturity. We must lift our gaze and seize all the opportunities that are out there.”
The budget cuts form part of a wider plan by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources to recoup $77 million in savings, which will also include axing a key sub-program of the Moon to Mars program.
Science Minister Ed Husic said the rejected projects “do not align with the Albanese government’s priorities” and don’t deliver “value for money for the taxpayer”.
In February last year, Space Connect reported how the spaceport investment would mimic similar programs overseas.
“This package will provide opportunities to advance technology with a first flight in space and to increase operational experience with multiple flights of a space product,” the ASA said.
The funding was designed to help the sector gain “flight qualifications”, which have previously inhibited the country from translating technology from the laboratory into the real world.
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