Australia's Satellite Utilisation Policy

Australia’s Satellite Utilisation Policy provides a vision for Australia’s use of space and space-related technologies including providing strategies to enable Australia to meet its national priorities through space and to ensure Australia meets its future space-related education and innovation needs.

Australia’s Satellite Utilisation Policy reflects the Principles for a National Space Industry Policy and reaffirms that Australian Government efforts will focus on:

  • Space applications that have a significant security, economic and social impact, specifically Earth Observation, Satellite Communications and Position, Navigation and Timing.
  • Ensuring resilient access to those space systems on which we rely now and to those important to our future national security, economic, environmental and social well-being.
  • Strengthening those relationships and cooperative activities on which Australia relies, and will continue to rely to a substantial degree, for space system capabilities.
  • Continuing to support rules-based international access to the space environment; promoting peaceful, safe and responsible activities in space.
  • Enhancing the coordination, understanding and strategic direction of Australia’s uses and approach to space.
  • Promoting collaboration between Australian public and private research and development organisations with industry in space-related activity, including space science, research and innovation in niche areas of excellence or national significance.
  • Ensuring Australia’s space capabilities will be used to enhance, and guard against threats to, our national security and economic well-being.

Australia's Satellite Utilisation Policy [PDF 1.3MB] [DOCX 251KB].


Space and Australia

Australia has a long history of involvement in space activities. The Australian Government recognises that space technologies and expertise provide enabling infrastructure for a prosperous Australia. Public and private services associated with space technologies enable much of our day-to-day life, such as:

  • Position, navigation and timing (PNT) services, including satnavs, GPS enabled phones and mapping services like Google Earth, are becoming increasingly central to personal navigation and planning

  • Commercial precision PNT services enable critical capabilities that underpin Australia’s economic security, such as air and road transport of goods, precision agriculture, and natural resource identification and management

  • Earth observation services help us understand climate change and monitor large-scale phenomena such as the El Niño, weather prediction, droughts, forest fires, and urban development, enabling long term Government and social planning

  • Satellite communications technologies, including broadband, enable Australian citizens and companies to conduct essential business and access critical services such as emergency transport.

Given the critical nature of these services and technologies Government leadership and investment in national space industry policy serves to provide public good and economic benefit to all Australians.

Globally, the international space sector is growing rapidly with increases in both Government and commercial budgets, with more countries making active contributions through national space programs.

The link below provides more information about Australia’s space history.

Highlights of Australia’s Space History [PDF 295KB] [RTF 232KB]


Development of the Policy

In 2011, the Australian Government released the Principles for a National Space Industry Policy. The Principles comprised the foundation and direction for the development of Australia’s Satellite Utilisation Policy.

Principles for a National Space Policy [PDF 361KB] [RTF 2050KB]


The development of the policy was also informed by several reports into Australia’s international space activities and their international context. These reports are available through the links below:

A Review of Current Australian Space Activities: April 2010.

A Review of the International Space Landscape.

A Review of Current Australian Space Activities: May2011.

Assessing Australia’s Use of Space Products and Services: A Comparative Benchmarking Analysis.

The Economic Value of Earth Observation from Space.

Continuity of Earth Observation Data for Australia: Operational Requirements to 2015 for Lands, Coasts and Oceans.

Continuity of Earth Observation Data for Australia: Research and Development Dependencies to 2020.


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