Manufacturing priority lost in space

The National Reconstruction Fund has passed parliament – not everybody is pleased with all of its priorities*

One of the seven investment priorities is not “space,” which the previous government was keen on, presenting Uni Southern Queensland and partners with $50m from the Trailblazer Universities programme, for research, manufacturing and infrastructure for the space industry (CMM May 16 ’22)

A consortium led by Gilmore Space Technologies also received $52m from the then government in March, “to grow sovereign space manufacturing.” Education partners include include CQU, Griffith U and James Cook U, (CMM March 28)

But now shadow education minister Sarah Henderson says the new government is changing the priorities “on a political whim”.

An unnamed university, which she tells the Senate saw her the other day certainly feels left out. “They are doing cutting-edge work, actually working with a private business in launching a satellite. Not only are they giving incredible opportunities to their students but also they are embracing school students. To exclude space and aerospace as a key manufacturing priority is a very, very big mistake,” she sayts

It may not be – the National Reconstruction Fund’s seventh priority is “enablers,” AI, quantum computing and so on. Maybe space manufacturers can find a way to be included – perhaps they were practising with Senator Henderson.

* the seven priorities are, resources; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; transport; medical science; renewables and low-emission technologies; defence capability; and enabling capabilities