Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Australian Government to Build a National Space Agency

Australian Government to Build a National Space Agency

"Each of our proposals will boost local economies as well as the national economy by - when considered together - adding more than $9.5 billion to GDP and more than 24,000 new jobs, with most jobs created in the regions", says ALGA president David O'Loughlin.

However, according to Australian Automobile Association (AAA), the funding for transport infrastructure has declined by nearly $2 billion over the forward estimates compared to last year's budget.

This new spending is spread across the states and territories, and the majority of funding will be funnelled into road and rail projects. Although cash allocations for infrastructure projects appear to be going down, according to Engineers Australia there is another side to this story.

The government is continuing to equip Australians with the skills they need to innovate and make the most of opportunities offered by technology and science.

In explaining the inequity of the budget spend on the road network, the AAA points out that the government will collect $54.4 billion from the fuel excise - $12.6 billion in 2018/19 alone - and a further $5.1 billion from the luxury auto tax and import tariff.

Under Delivering Australia's Digital Future: Modernising business registers in the 2018-19 Budget, the ATO will get AU$16.6 million while ASIC gets AU$1.6 million, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science gets AU$1 million, and the latter department pitches in AU$100,000.

Several areas will see investment influxes off the back of the reveal, which made major commitments to the country's technology infrastructure.

A further A$1.9 billion has also been set aside to improve the NRI over 12 years from 2017-18 with the aim of providing researchers and businesses the right tools to develop and commercialise first-to-market products and services.

In an email to Gizmodo Australia, the AAA states that the Australian Government expects to collect $54.4 billion over the forward estimates from net fuel excise, as well as a further $5.1 billion from luxury vehicle tax and tariffs.

Initial investments include $140 million upgrades to the National Computational Infrastructure in Canberra (announced December 2017) and the Pawsey Centre in WA. This will advance medical research, nanotechnology, mining, construction and urban planning with high-speed calculations. Many space industries stakeholders have called on the government to set up a space agency.

But beyond building technical capabilities, this funding will also contribute to the development of standards and an AI ethics framework to identify future opportunities and help us navigate this fearless new world.

The government has also committed to a Technology Roadmap, Standards Framework and an AI ethics framework.

Gender diversity in STEM gained support as well thanks to a four-year, $4.5 million investment in several programs to increase women's involvement in STEM disciplines.

For astronomy, the investment plan will likely cover continuing support for Australian institutions to participate in global consortia operating large optical and radio telescopes.

However, it wasn't all good news.

The full 2018 Budget can be found here.

Funding of $10.1 million over three years will be provided to digitise important and now paper workflows at the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

Universities were also hit, as funding freezes announced during the Mid-Year Economic Financial Outlook were extended.

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