The federal government has announced that it will establish a new national agency to grow Australia's domestic space industry.
A working group chaired by former CSIRO chief Megan Clark will provide advice on the possible scope and structure of the agency to the federal government by the end of March next year.
Senator Michaelia Cash, the acting Minister of Industry, Innovation and Science, will on Tuesday tell the International Astronautical Congress that Australia will not have a NASA but an agency "right for our nation, right for our industry".
"It will provide the vehicle for Australia to have a long-term strategic plan for space - a plan that supports the innovative application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry, including through defence space procurement," Senator Cash will say.
"But this is not just about an agency for an agency's sake: that is why the review process is so important. We now need to put in the hard work to determine what form of agency and what mandate is best suited to support our growing industry."
The ACT will lobby to house Australia's space agency with Australian National University Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics research fellow Brad Tucker arguing Canberra was already the nation's space capital.
"We are already doing pretty much all of the cool big things - not everything, that's naive - so we in Canberra will see a large fraction of increase in this funding," he said.
The ANU and UNSW Canberra signed an agreement on Monday that would, for the first time in Australia, allow for the professional design and delivery of space missions.
UNSW Canberra rector Michael Frater said the memorandum of understanding cemented Canberra's standing as the home of Australia's space industry.
"You can expect a number of expansions to be announced by us and others over the next few months because we're seeing an increased awareness of the importance of space and an increased awareness of the fact that Australia actually can take an active role, which is what's been missing in the past," he said.
The university last month announced it would expand into Reid with a projected 10,000 extra students over the next three years.
Professor Frater confirmed space research and innovation was "one of the things we're looking at for the Reid campus".
The government made its announcement on the same day Labor outlined its own plans to boost Australia's space industry through the establishment of a space science and industry agency from 2020.
Opposition science spokesman Senator Kim Carr said Labor would also create a space industry innovation council and a space industry supplier advocate to bolster opportunities for investment.
"It is in Australia's national interest to build our own capabilities in these areas, not only to meet current and future needs, but also to mitigate the risk of these services becoming unavailable," he said.
Australia is one of the only developed countries in the world without a dedicated space agency.
The country's space industry is estimated to be worth as much as $4 billion per year and currently employs about 11,500 workers.
Dr Tucker warned funding was necessary to allow for innovation.
On Monday, federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham refused to commit any money to the agency, telling the ABC the government would "respond in next year's budget in terms of exactly the quantum of dollars required to make sure this is effective".
"What needs to happen, regardless of the model, is you need to have funding for people to test, build and trial new products and technologies," Dr Tucker said.
"That's the best way this works. If you don't have that, you don't have anything in my opinion."
On Tuesday, Senator Cash will also announce the upcoming signing of a new civil space agreement between the US and Australia on civil on Tuesday and an agreement between CSIRO and the UK's Surrey Satellite Technology Limited.
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