Date published: 28 June 2021

The Australian Space Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Queensland Government which focuses on supporting industry and leveraging the existing start-up ecosystem, as well as collaborating with government and developing skills and workforce capability.

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo

L-R: Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, and Director-General of the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Damien Walker

Read the full statement

The Commonwealth of Australia as represented by the Australian Space Agency, part of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (‘the Agency’) and the State of Queensland (QLD) represented by the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (‘the QLD Government’); Hereafter referred to individually as ‘Participant’, or collectively as ‘Participants’,

DESIRE TO BUILD on the cooperation already established between the Participants;

RECOGNISING the wishes of the Participants to mutually grow the size, scope, capability and commercial sustainability of Australia’s national space sector;

CONSIDERING the positive contribution that cooperation in supporting the development of infrastructure, science, research, technology, services and applications will bring to all industry organisations as well as academic and research institutions across the space sector;

REFLECTING that the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028 is a framework for the development and growth of the Australian space industry over ten years; underpinned by four strategic pillars: International; National; Responsible; and Inspire. Under these pillars the strategy endeavours to help realise opportunities and address challenges by opening doors internationally; increasing national space capability; promoting responsible regulation, risk and space culture; and building the future workforce. The Strategy sets a path for the Agency to triple the size of Australia’s space sector to $12 billion and create another 20,000 jobs by 2030;

RECOGNISING that the Agency’s purpose is to transform and grow a globally-respected Australian space industry that lifts the broader economy, inspires and improves the lives of Australians – underpinned by strong international and national engagement;

RECALLING that the Agency has seven National Civil Space Priority Areas including communications technologies and services; position, navigation and timing infrastructure; space situational awareness and debris monitoring; leapfrog research and development (R&D); Earth observation services; robotics and automation on Earth and in space; and access to space;

RECALLING that the Agency is responsible for whole-of-government coordination of civil space matters and is the primary source of advice to the Australian Government on civil space policy including: providing national policy and strategic advice on the civil space sector; coordinating Australia’s domestic civil space sector activities; supporting the growth of Australia’s space industry and the use of space across the broader economy; leading international civil space engagement; administering space activities legislation and delivering on our international obligations; and inspiring the Australian community and the next generation of space entrepreneurs;

RECOGNISING the Participants’ commitment to work collaboratively with industry to support the growth and development of the civil space sector in Australia and support the Team Australia approach;

RECALLING that the QLD Government in May 2019 responded to the
15 recommendations of the Queensland Parliament inquiry by the State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee (the Committee) into job creation opportunities in Queensland arising from the establishment of an Australian space industry which relate to space infrastructure, career pathways and STEM education;

RECOGNISING that the QLD Government response to the Parliamentary Inquiry included a high-level commitment to work in collaboration with the Federal Government and the Agency in the delivery of the Committee’s recommendations particularly with regard to investments in infrastructure;

RECOGNISING that the Queensland Space Industry Strategy released in
February 2020 follows on from the QLD Government response. The QLD Strategy focuses on leveraging the state’s competitive advantages in the space sector by strengthening capabilities (infrastructure, human, commercial) in Queensland’s areas of advantage to grow the state’s space industry, including connecting the sector to markets and supply chains, promoting capabilities and leveraging downstream industries:

  • Launch Activities – particularly existing industry capabilities including in launch vehicles, world-leading hypersonics technology and R&D, and Queensland’s unique location for a wide range of potential launch capabilities
  • Ground Systems – particularly existing industry capabilities, and Queensland’s unique location for satellite coverage of the eastern seaboard of Australia and the western Pacific
  • Space-Enabled Services – particularly Earth observation data analytics capabilities
  • Space Systems – particularly robotics and automation technology and R&D for application in space, and niche manufacturing

RECOGNISING that QLD is host to space-related R&D facilities and operations, for example: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT); Griffith University’s Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems; Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, Institute for Future Environments; the University of Queensland’s Boeing Research and Technology Australia Centre (BR&T), Centre for Hypersonics, X3 Expansion Tube (for superorbital gas dynamic flows), Terrestrial Ecosystem Network (TERN); and the University of Southern Queensland’s Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences, Mount Kent Observatory, and Supersonic-Hypersonic Wind Tunnel.

The participants have reached the following understandings

1 Purpose

1.1 The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (‘MOU’) is to:

  1. provide a framework for mutual understanding between the Participants regarding common areas of interest and reviewing major areas of future cooperation to develop the space industry;
  2. facilitate the interchange of information in areas of mutual interest; and
  3. nominate relevant points of contact for both Participants.

2 Status of this MOU

2.1 The Participants agree that this MOU is not intended to create any binding legal partnership between the Participants, nor are its provisions intended to give rise to legal rights, obligations or liabilities on the part of either Participant.

2.2 Nothing in this MOU creates or implies any obligation on the part of either Participant to enter into any contract, agreement, commitment or other arrangement whatsoever in relation to the subject matter of this MOU.

2.3 Nothing in this MOU requires a Participant to cooperate, facilitate or make any contribution concerning the matters the subject of this MOU in any way contrary to its own interests or requirements.

2.4 Nothing in this MOU implies preferential treatment of assessments undertaken by the Agency, or removal of obligations and processes under regulatory activities, such as under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018.

3 Areas of Cooperation

3.1 Subject to the laws and regulations applicable to them, the Participants, through consultation, will decide upon the specific items and scope of cooperation within the framework of this MOU. The proposed collaborative activities are as follows:

  1. Consistent with the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028 and the Queensland Space Industry Strategy 2020-2025, the Participants will facilitate collaboration as appropriate in QLD and the Australian national space sectors, including, but not limited to:
  • working on the Participants’ mutual areas of priority including Earth observation, communications technologies and services, leapfrog R&D, robotics and automation on Earth and in space, and access to space including launch; 
  • supporting the development of space education, skills, training and workforce capability;
  • leveraging the emerging space start-up ecosystem in QLD both nationally and internationally;
  • collaborating with the QLD Government to leverage its network of primes, small-to-medium size enterprises, and research organisations to facilitate the growth of the space sector;
  • supporting QLD businesses and research organisations’ participation in international space missions;
  • supporting the development of a regulatory environment that allows the QLD space sector to grow, while ensuring national safety and security which meets our international obligations and norms;
  • promote QLD’s space ecosystem and competitive advantages both nationally and internationally to facilitate growth of, and attract investment in QLD’s space sector; and
  • providing a coordinating point between the QLD Government and the Agency on industry activity.
  1. Participants will jointly identify suitable projects of common interest that can be supported and developed by both Participants. Other areas of cooperation may be identified by mutual consent of the Participants.

4 Implementation

4.1 The Participants will arrange meetings by mutual consent to review progress on this MOU. The persons nominated by the Participants as responsible for overseeing the implementation of this MOU are as follows:

or such other person notified to the other Participant.

4.2 The Participants acknowledge that the State and Territories Space Coordination Committee will be used as the forum to review the Agency’s and all States and Territories’ progress to supporting the growth of Australia’s national space sector.

5 Duration and termination

5.1 This MOU will come into effect on the date of signature by both Participants and will continue in operation until terminated by either Participant giving one month’s written notice to the other.

6 Confidentiality

6.1 Subject to this clause 6, each Participant must keep confidential, and must not publish or disclose to a third party, without the written consent of the other Participant, any information and/or data relating to the operations, business, property or affairs of a Participant which is of a confidential nature (‘Confidential Information’).

6.2 Nothing in clause 6.1 prevents

  1. a Minister from publishing or disclosing Confidential Information if that Minister is required to disclose that Confidential Information to Parliament in order to properly discharge that Minister’s duties or responsibilities as a Minister of the Crown or Commonwealth.
  2. a Participant from publishing or disclosing the Confidential Information of that Participant.
  3. a Participant from publishing or disclosing the Confidential Information of the other Participant to the extent that the publication or disclosure:
    • is required by law or lawful order of any Government Body having authority over a Participant or
    • is made on a confidential basis to the professional advisers of such Participant for the purpose of obtaining professional advice in relation to this MOU or otherwise for the purpose of consulting such professional advisers.

7 Miscellaneous

7.1 No partnership or agency

  1. Nothing contained or implied in this MOU will:

    • constitute, or be taken to constitute, a Participant to be the partner, agent or legal representative of another Participant for any purpose
    • create, or be taken to create, a partnership or joint venture or
    • create, or be taken to create, an agency or trust.
  2. A Participant must not represent or hold itself out to be a partner, joint venturer, agent or representative of another Participant.

7.2 Amendment

  1. This MOU may only be amended or supplemented in writing signed by the Participants.

7.3 Disclosure

  1. Despite any confidentiality or intellectual property right subsisting in this MOU, a Participant may publish all or any part of this MOU without reference to another Participant.
  2. Nothing in this clause derogates from a Participant's obligations under the The Right to Information Act 2009 (QLD) or the Privacy Act 1988 (Cwlth).

Signed separately in two copies, in Adelaide, Australia and Brisbane, Australia on 28 June 2021.



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