The Australian government has announced it will create a national space agency to help grow its domestic industry. Speaking at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide this week, Michaelia Cash, acting minister for industry, innovation and science, outlined how the move would create thousands of jobs and make the country less reliant on international partners for satellite and Earth-observation data.

Australia is one of the few developed nations not to have its own agency with the government eager to tap into the "rapidly" growing global space industry. "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," says Cash.

Expert reference group

The establishment of a space agency was recommended by an expert reference group that was chaired by Megan Clark, head of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. The group was appointed to review Australia's space industry in July and received almost 200 written submissions that highlighted the need for such an agency. The group will now develop a charter for the space agency by the end of March 2018.