Australian space companies and others have until Monday to say how the government should spend the funding it has allocated to the space sector.
The Australian Space Agency (ASA) said it was seeking views on the design of the International Space Investment initiative launched in the federal budget in April.
“In particular, we would like to hear from businesses and researchers that are currently engaged, or would like to be engaged, in international space projects. Submissions close 1 July 2019,” it said.
This initiative provides grants to strategic space projects that generate employment and business opportunities.
That funding isn’t huge – $15 million over three years, with $3 million in 2019-20, $5 million on 2020-21 and $7 million in 2021-22.
This will target projects with a minimum of 80 per cent of the investment in Australia for the benefit of Australian space industry firms.
ASA said the Australian space sector was growing fast, with forecasts of up to 7.1 per cent growth per year over the next five years, outpacing GDP.
However, Australia is entering a rapidly growing and fiercely competitive international market and Australian space businesses face a range of market barriers that limit growth.
That includes accessing investment and venture capital markets.
“Australian space businesses will need to build capability and capacity to enter international supply chains,” it said.
ISI objectives are to help unlock international space opportunities for the Australian space sector, expand capability and capacity and demonstrate the sector’s ability to successfully deliver space-related products and services internationally.
The ASA proposes there should be two streams of ISI funding. Through the Open Doors stream, grants would target international space agency projects that will unlock opportunities for the Australian space sector.
Under the Expand Capability stream, grants would be awarded competitively to build capability and capacity of the Australian space sector and support creation of jobs.
ISI program design will be finalised in July and August and applications for funding will open in September. The first grants will be delivered in November.
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