Last updated March 6, 2018 at 4:35 pm
Talk about the Australian Space Agency has moved quickly onto the impact for the economy and society. And young people are the most likely to be impacted, and make their own impact.
The Australian government has finally announced their commitment to a space agency in the near future. For people like me, who are embedded in the industry and live and breathe space, the social and economic impacts of this announcement are well understood. But if you aren’t immersed in the industry, you might be thinking – “How is an agency going to solve our problems?”or even “What a waste of money!”.
There is more to it than developing cool technology and joining the rest of the world at the frontier of exploration. The economic value has been measured time and time again and the return on investment in space is economically significant. It is measurable, it is trackable and it is accepted globally.
- The technologies developed for space can be used to improve life on Earth. An everyday example is connectivity on your mobile phone and GPS.
- The industry employs tens of thousands of people, with a range of skillsets. Potentially, there’s a type of job for everyone.
- Space industries drive research and development, improving our universities output and significance in the world, and making them more attractive to international students (one of our biggest exports).
- The agency would allow us participate in global projects, and drive Australian business to grow globally.
Discussions during IAC2017 have noted that the social impact of the space agency is harder to measure as it is less direct than the economic value.
I’d like to point out the benefits for young people. Presently, they’re faced with the stark reality of automation taking up a significant amount of jobs off the market. It’s a conversation they hear regularly and isn’t very motivating to say the least. Our main economic and job industries are dwindling, many young people are looking around asking what they’re meant to do.
With an agency, our government is sending saying that they are backing an industry’s growth long term. With governments support, Australians can expect stability, and find comfort that there are industries that won’t dwindle away within their lifetime.
Having an agency means that students can now allow themselves to get excited and involved. There are now going to be opportunities for them that don’t require them to move internationally or have a second passport.
For our young Australians, they can finally see some real world applications of this giant STEM push in education. Up until now, they have been told to learn how to code because that’s the future despite the fact that flooding the market with developers is just going to cause another issue. But now they can see where and how their education is going to be useful. And for those students who haven’t been able to get on board STEM train, space offers opportunities to all areas and includes more than just the technically savvy. It gives opportunities to almost all pathways, ensuring that this new industry is accessible by the wider Australian population.
This means the growth of Australian local companies, and international opportunities for them. It means the children of miners and manufacturers can see a glimmer of hope in an alternative pathway. The agency gives young people something to aim for and to be excited about in a world where we are swamped in the negativity of what the future will bring.
The agency brings Australian youth hope.
Follow all the IAC 2017 coverage, including news and articles in the lead up to this astronautical event, and daily live videos during the Congress at australiascience.tv/iac-2017.