Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.

NT readies for defence and space opportunities

hornets darwin
A pair of F/A-18B Hornets taxis out for another sortie in Northern Territory during Exercise Diamond Storm. Image via Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has said the geographical advantages of the NT will help the territory secure coveted defence and space industry work.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has said the geographical advantages of the NT will help the territory secure coveted defence and space industry work.

Speaking at a two-day defence summit in Darwin, the Chief Minister said the ongoing national investment in Defence over the next decade under the 2016 Defence White Paper will deliver economic benefits to the NT.


“Defence and northern development are inseparable, just as northern development and Aboriginal participation is inseparable," he said.

“It is a fundamental shift in Northern Territory industry away from the boom and bust, away from that next big thing, and to a more diversified economy. It means the population growth the territory so sorely needs."

The Chief Minister said the "wide-open spaces and wide-ranging landscapes and weather" make the territory an ideal place for equipment testing, training, trials and military research.

Chief Minister Gunner also spoke about the ample opportunity the territory has to create a space exploration hub.

"We could be launching rockets into space from Arnhem Land within a year," he said


"That most magical part of the world, home to the most ancient people, the most ancient stories, the most ancient languages, will soon be a seat for the extreme edges of engineering capability."

The comments come a month after the federal government announced it is committed to establishing a national space agency.

"The global space industry is growing rapidly and it’s crucial that Australia is part of this growth,” said federal Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash.

"A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic, long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry.

"The agency will be the anchor for our domestic co-ordination and the front door for our international engagement."

A location on the national space agency is yet to be decided.

Earlier this year South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr signed a five-year agreement on behalf of their governments, signalling an intent to work together towards the creation of a Canberra-based agency with a prominent presence in Adelaide.

"South Australia and the ACT are committed to the developing a space agency in Australia, and Adelaide will play a key part," Premier Weatherill said.

"The space sector has enormous growth potential and is a perfect fit for South Australia, given our national leadership in other high-tech industries including defence, renewable energy, IT and advanced manufacturing. Just like those industries, the space sector will provide opportunities for traditional manufacturers to transition to a high-tech, high growth sector."

Defence SA worked closely with the ACT to develop the agreement, which has come about after SA and the ACT presented a joint paper at the COAG Industry and Skills Council meeting in Canberra, outlining ways to expand the nation’s space industry through education, research and industry-led initiatives.

SA and the ACT said the agreement reflects both jurisdictions’ commitment to ensuring all of Australia can participate in the international space industry, which produces revenue of $420 billion annually.

SA has since become the first Australian state or territory to establish its own space centre, the South Australian Space Industry Centre.



NT readies for defence and space opportunities
lawyersweekly logo

The inaugural Defence Connect AIC Summit will place you with key decision-makers and stakeholders within the defence industry to discuss the government’s intention to improve AIC and increase the nation’s sovereign production, defence capability and resilience. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this event, register for free today to attend the live stream on 22 October. Register your interest to attend, visit: www.defenceconnect.com.au/aic-summit

more from defence connect

Sep 16 2021
Defence releases RFP for air defence system
Industry stakeholders have been invited to submit proposals for the ADF’s future medium-range air defence capability. ...
New Zealand to uphold ban on nuclear vessels
Sep 16 2021
New Zealand to uphold ban on nuclear vessels despite Australia’s submarine program
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern told reporters that the country intends to uphold its ban on nuclear powered vessels within its terr...
Sep 16 2021
PODCAST: A different vision for Australian defence industry, with shadow minister for defence industry Matt Keogh
In this episode of the Defence Connect Podcast, host Phil Tarrant is joined by shadow minister for defence industry Matt Keogh, wh...