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Marty in space: The State Govt's new economic frontier

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The Weatherill Government may be struggling to maintain jobs on planet earth, but it has eyed a new frontier in its mission to forge a new economy – outer space.

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A new policy blueprint – set to be launched next month but posted on Defence SA’s website – details a bid to capitalise on the “space economy”.

“In recent years the space economy has experienced exponential global growth… revenue from space-related activities in 2015 was about US$323 billion, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.52 per cent from 1998 to 2015,” the document states.

“This is more than three times the annual growth rate of world GDP.”

The blueprint – the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy, aka the ‘Space Strategic Plan’ – details the establishment of a “national hub of space industry, research and development” in South Australia, and identifies “the key direction, mission and actions needed to create a ‘space-enabled economy’ in SA”.

“In order to maximise benefits for our state, we must further develop our technical knowledge and infrastructure to pave the way for innovative opportunities, and to become a prominent player in an extremely competitive global arena,” Premier Jay Weatherill states in the document’s introduction.

“This document represents the beginning of an exciting journey towards a strong space industry for South Australia.”

Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith will today sign a collaborative partnership with the Italian Space Agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), in Rome.

Hamilton-Smith said the Government, through Defence SA, was committed to developing strategies “to grow the local industry, increase research, development collaboration and international engagement”.

He said the ASI was “a major player in the global space market”, and the partnership would broaden SA’s access to the wider European space market “and enable the South Australian space industry to become a part of the global space value chain”.

“Our vision is to position SA as a vibrant hub for future space activity and industry development,” he told InDaily in a statement.

“The space sector has the potential to become an important source of economic growth, creating jobs and leading to space technology innovations which will have widespread application across areas including agribusiness, health, mining, education and tourism.”

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