Barr ignites over ‘blatantly political’ Space Agency decision

Ian Bushnell 12 December 2018 26

The launch of the Chief Minister’s space prospectus back in July: Professor Anna Moore (ANU National Space Test Facility), Professor Russell Robert Boyce (UNSW Canberra), Chief Minister Andrew Barr and ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt. Photo: Supplied.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr is refusing to concede that the Federal Government has shot down the ACT’s bid to host the new Australian Space Agency by handing it to Adelaide, launching a furious attack on the Coalition and pinning his hopes on Shorten Labor being elected next year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said South Australia, as a key hub for innovation and the technology industry, made it the ideal home for the new Agency.

But Mr Barr said it was just another blatantly political manoeuvre by a desperate Prime Minister to try to save marginal seats.

“The decision to look above reason and relocate the National Space Agency to South Australia is just another sign that this Federal Liberal/Nationals Government does not care about the nation’s capital,” he said.

“Combined with the continued efforts to relocate Commonwealth Agencies based in Canberra to marginal electorates, cuts to National Institutions and the lack of Commonwealth infrastructure investment in the ACT – it is clear that this Government have no intention of supporting Canberrans or supporting Canberra’s role as the nation’s capital.”

Mr Barr said the only way this would change is through a Bill Shorten-led Government, that will likely include the ACT’s Andrew Leigh and Katy Gallagher.

“I will continue to engage with my Federal colleagues to ensure a future Labor Government keeps their promise to base a National Space Agency in the ACT with a presence in other states and territories,” he said.

“Having strong voices for the Territory in a future Cabinet room will certainly help deliver better outcomes for Canberrans.”

Mr Barr, who has led a strong push for the Space Agency from ACT stakeholders such as the ANU, UNSW Canberra and local business, said Canberra was the logical home of the National Space Agency.

“Almost one-in-four Australian space industry jobs are based in Canberra. We are the home of public administration, with access to the best research and tertiary education institutions,” he said.

The PM’s statement said the Space Agency, to be located at Lot Fourteen at the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, was also key to the new Adelaide City Deal, with a Memorandum of Understanding signed with SA’s Liberal Government aimed at boosting Adelaide’s economy and driving long-term investment in the city.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said Adelaide was selected to host the Agency after putting forward the strongest case.

“South Australia is already home to more than 60 organisations and 800 employees in the space sector and this decision builds on the very strong technology and defence presence in the state,” Ms Andrews said.

The statement said the Australian Space Agency would be located in Adelaide by mid-2019 and employ 20 full-time equivalent staff in Adelaide. But a lot can change by then, something Mr Barr is counting on.



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26 Responses to Barr ignites over ‘blatantly political’ Space Agency decision
Maelinar Maelinar 4:24 pm 19 Dec 18

Nah, Adelaide. Without trying to sound like a NIMBY aren’t all those NASA space things out Parkes direction better off without a bunch of extra con-trails in the sky messin with the equipment ?

Also, just concrete over the old nuclear test site down in SA. Nothing better than a whole heap of flat nothing to build a massive rocket site on.

Jim Eadie Jim Eadie 10:27 am 15 Dec 18

Maybe the Prime Minister has seen what has been done to the once great city of Canberra and said nah, not putting it here!

Michael Oddy Michael Oddy 2:10 pm 14 Dec 18

Poor Barr won’t be able to put a rainbow on it

bikhet bikhet 6:25 am 14 Dec 18

Adelaide makes sense. Defence will be one of the organisations most involved with the new space agency and DSTO is based in Adelaide.

Roger Griffiths Roger Griffiths 10:14 pm 13 Dec 18

Lol. Rainbow rockets 🚀....

justin heywood justin heywood 9:18 pm 13 Dec 18

Perhaps Barr doesn’t realise it (living in the ‘bubble’) but the antics of ACT politicians have been a national joke for many years and he has done nothing but reinforce the perception that the Assembly is a political kindergarten.

A federal government has federal concerns.

Neither the LNP or incoming ALP governments are likely to take the confected outrage of this nobody seriously.

Luke Carmody Luke Carmody 8:31 pm 13 Dec 18

Makes more sence to have it in Adelaide they have a larger population and manufacturing base to support it and the opportunity to launch rockets from their state. Plus they have been hit with a stick in recent years

Mick Andrews Mick Andrews 8:15 pm 13 Dec 18

Bart Fordham wombat xl

Darren Sault Darren Sault 6:43 pm 13 Dec 18

As a politician - shouldn’t he be used to blatant politicking??

John Moulis John Moulis 4:50 pm 13 Dec 18

Another bit of pork barrelling to try and save Christopher Pyne’s seat. Just like the submarines…

    Gilavon Gilavon 1:56 pm 15 Dec 18

    D’you mean Andrew wanted to build the subs in Cba? … ooops, sorry, CBR? The lake would be a tad crowded.

Trevor Watson Trevor Watson 3:36 pm 13 Dec 18

This will be great news for the residents of Woomera where all the bungers and skyrockets can be tested without bits of them falling over suburbia...

Geoff Cooke Geoff Cooke 12:57 pm 13 Dec 18

The Federal gov doesn’t want the headquarters painted with rainbows

    Helen McIntosh Carpenter Helen McIntosh Carpenter 5:36 pm 13 Dec 18

    Geoff Cooke, so true of what Andrew Barr and his Government would do, and we would pay for the paint job on our rates.....

Tom Lawson Tom Lawson 12:40 pm 13 Dec 18

Sorry, but I actually back the Space Agency being in Adelaide for once.

Adelaide has the largest portion of the space industry of any Australian city and has access to graduates from the University of Adelaide which has had its own Space program for decades. It only makes sense.

    Benjamin Irwin Benjamin Irwin 8:53 pm 13 Dec 18

    Tom Lawson how dare you speak out against Andrew Barr?

    Paul-Marie Beau Paul-Marie Beau 2:59 pm 14 Dec 18

    I think the SPACE agency should be in SPACE. why does it have to be in a city on EARTH!?!? it makes no sense to me #boycottthefedgovspaceagencylocationdecisionalltogether

    Tom Lawson Tom Lawson 3:20 pm 14 Dec 18

    Paul-Marie Beau Newsflash BRANIAC, earth IS in SPACE

Capital Retro Capital Retro 12:33 pm 13 Dec 18

It’s a bad day for Andrew with the A League bid missing out again. Actually, both decisions have saved we ratepayers millions.

Sue Elliott Sue Elliott 12:08 pm 13 Dec 18

$$$$$$ spend .. spend ..spend

Hans Dimpel Hans Dimpel 11:39 am 13 Dec 18

Haven't heard Zed Seselja criticise this move ... once again he puts his party before Canberra or good government.

David Brown David Brown 11:36 am 13 Dec 18

It was always between NSW and SA as they are the only remaining Liberal state governments. Nothing about merit.

Justin Watson Justin Watson 11:27 am 13 Dec 18

Simple, the ACT government just needs to make it more enticing to have private space related companies operate out of Canberra. then it will look really stupid to have the government agency in another city when the majority of space industry operates from Canberra.

    Hans Dimpel Hans Dimpel 5:29 pm 13 Dec 18

    I think Step 1 is stop being a safe Labor seat Federally. labor can take votes here for granted so don't even have to try...they send the $$$ to marginal seats. The Coalition doesn't even bother trying to win the ACT so they use it as an easy punching bag to please Barnaby and his mob of pitch-fork carriers.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 9:00 am 13 Dec 18

What do Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese have to say about decentralising? Given that the ACT is supremely safe for Labor, they can probably afford to (quietly) support more marginal electorates on this issue.

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