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Government launches new moon-to-Mars supply chain support for Aussie businesses

Stephen Kuper

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews has announced $25.7 million to support Australian space businesses grow their capability, create jobs and take part in NASA’s inspirational mission to travel to the moon and Mars.

Government launches new moon-to-Mars supply chain support for Aussie businesses
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Minister Andrews said the Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants will fuel opportunities for local businesses to grow and expand into global markets.

The grants will help businesses to double down on their capabilities. It will also support their application across other high growth industries such as mining, cyber security and agriculture.

The aim of the program is to lift the participation of Australian companies in local and international space supply chains that could support NASA’s inspirational plan to return to the moon and travel on to Mars.

"Space offers a significant economic opportunity to create more high tech jobs for Australians – not just in existing space businesses but in a range of related fields including advanced manufacturing. As part of the Moon to Mars initiative, these grants will drive the growth of skills, capabilities and capacity in the Australian space industry, including leveraging our existing strong manufacturing base," Minister Andrews explained. 

Eligible projects could include:

  • Activities that support the development of space industry technology, products, processes or services; and
  • Development of a product from an adjacent industry, like manufacturing, to support the space industry. 

Buyer support is essential. Applicants will need to show they have a buyer who is genuinely interested in the product/service.

Head of the Australian Space Agency Dr Megan Clark AC said increasing national capability is one of the primary areas of focus in the government’s Australian Civil Space Strategy.

"These grants are about Australia building on its strengths, partnering for success by diversifying the economy, and building a high tech workforce that can make a significant contribution internationally," Dr Clark said. 

"Supply chain partnerships and a clear commercialisation pathway are key to these supply chain capability improvement grants. We want to see partnerships that bring Australian space products and services to life and contribute to Australia’s export market capacity. This will create jobs and increase skills at a local level."

Grants of between $250,000 and $1 million are available under the five year program. Applications can be submitted at any time up to 30 June 2023. 

The $150 million Moon to Mars initiative is among close to $700 million being invested by the Morrison government into the Australian space sector as part of a goal to triple its size to $12 billion and create an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.

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