NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner welcomed the announcement that Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) and Gumatj Corporation have secured land in North East Arnhem Land to establish Australia’s first commercial space centre.
The Territory Government has also signed a Project Facilitation Agreement (PFA) with ELA, Gumatj and Developing East Arnhem Limited to work together to support the first phase of the Arnhem Space Centre.
Mr Gunner said the economic benefit to the region of the project is expected to be over $100 million, and has the potential to create approximately 35 jobs during construction period and 32 full-time equivalent jobs once operational.
“We are focused on creating local jobs and new business opportunities and this project ticks both those boxes – this is an exciting and important step forward for this project,” Mr Gunner said.
“This project that has the potential to unlock new opportunities for the Gove Peninsula, drive the economic development of the East Arnhem region, and create local jobs in an exciting new industry.
“The sub-lease to ELA demonstrates the incredible potential of Aboriginal Lands across the Northern Territory and a desire for Aboriginal businesses to partner long term for the future of their own people.”
The PFA outlines a framework for the NT Government and stakeholders to work together to facilitate development of the project and maximise its economic and community benefits.
“The Territory Government recognises the significance and potential the project can provide to ELA and the Northern Territory,” he said.
“The Arnhem Space Centre will be a significant site in the Asia pacific region and attract new business to the region. In addition to launching satellites there will be opportunities with a focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
“The project will support job creation, drive innovation and development of new technologies, boost tourism and attract new investment to the region and Territory.
“It will also support Nhulunbuy’s transformation from a mining town to a significant economic and services hub for the region.”
Pending further regulatory processes and environmental assessment, ELA expects to start construction of the Arnhem Space Centre early in 2018, with the first launch expected at the end of 2018.
The Northern Territory will work closely with the Commonwealth on the important space and aviation regulatory processes required to ensure the Arnhem Space Centre operates safety for the benefit of the region.
The Northern Territory Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the governments of South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory to support the growth of the Australian Space Industry at the 68th International Austronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide earlier in 2017.
Space industry development complements the NT’s existing growth sectors of defence, agribusiness, energy and minerals, and tourism.
Globally the space industry is worth around $300 billion.
Source: NT Government