It has been revealed today that Anthony Albanese and Ed Husic have vandalised Australia’s economy with what could be the largest cut to the space industry in Australian history.
The Albanese Government has confirmed it has cut over $1.2 billion from Australia’s space industry by cancelling the National Space Mission for Earth Observation program in its entirety.
Before the election then Deputy Leader of the Opposition Richard Marles argued the government should be investing more in Australia’s space industry. Today that commitment is in tatters as is his credibility.
The National Space Mission for Earth Observation program was announced in the March 2022 Budget and allocated funding to the Australian Space Agency in partnership with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology and Department of Defence. It would have supported Australia to design, build, and operate four of our own new satellites.
Led by the Australian Space Agency, this Mission would have made Australia more self-sufficient and more self-reliant. It was a down payment on an entirely new industry for Australian workers and on Australia’s sovereignty and national security.
This space program would have anchored Australia’s burgeoning space industry, an industry that has the potential to generate thousands of high-skill jobs in advanced manufacturing and technology. Its axing is an act of economic vandalism.
These cuts are a national disgrace and were hidden from scrutiny in the Federal Budget for good reason. Just days after his Budget Anthony Albanese was spinning it as a success for the space industry. It is clear that was misleading and wrong. The truth is these cuts make Australia weaker and more vulnerable in the increasingly uncertain world we live in.
The Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Industry Sussan Ley, said the cuts are a clear betrayal of Labor’s pledge to ‘build things here’ and demonstrate that Ed Husic does not have what it takes to build the industrial base Australia needs for the 21st century economy and regional security environment.
“Because of Ed Husic’s impulsive economic vandalism Australia will be weaker and more vulnerable, our economy will be less advanced and our industrial capacity diminished” the Deputy Leader said.
“In cutting this program the Anthony Albanese has presided over one of the single worst industrial policy calls in Australian history.
“Space is a vacuum, and clearly so too is Labor’s industrial policy, as the space industries of other nations are lifting off, Australia’s is being taken off the launch pad.”
These are not the only cuts.
As a result of its ‘Spending Audit’ last year the Albanese Government cut $506.4 million across the Industry and Science Portfolio. This included cuts to Boosting the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, Modern Manufacturing Initiative, and Manufacturing Modernisation Fund which have dedicated funding for space projects.
The head of the Australian Space Agency also confirmed at Senate Estimates the Albanese Government has cut $59.7 million from the technology-into-orbit program and the space flight tickets subprograms, $18 million from the Moon to Mars global supply chain facilitation while the Federal Budget cut $32.3 million which had been slated to co-invest in spaceports and launch sites.
These cuts are shocking but unsurprising given the Albanese Government axed ‘Space’ as an explicit priority for the National Reconstruction Fund.
The concerns voiced across the space industry about Ed Husic as Minister have today been vindicated.
Ed Husic has today proven himself as a Minister devoid of the imagination and vision required to take Australian industry forward and we will all be poorer for it.
This decision is also a blow to South Australia and should be condemned by South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas, not just his Deputy. South Australia in particular will lose big under this cut from Anthony Albanese.
Rubbing salt in the wound, the unacceptable gutting of Australia’s space industry comes as Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers are spruiking a surprise windfall for the Budget over and above the Federal Budget. These cuts are unnecessary and are unforgivable.