The Nationals WA have labelled the loss of Australia’s first space agency to South Australia as a major missed opportunity by both the State Government and WA’s Federal MPs.
Science, innovation and ICT spokesperson Colin de Grussa questioned why the WA Government didn’t do more to convince the Commonwealth to bring the space agency west.
“It seems the South Australian Government got on the front foot with a comprehensive and detailed proposal. Meanwhile, WA’s submission read like it was an afterthought for the McGowan Government,” Mr de Grussa said.
Mr de Grussa said the loss of the space agency represented a missed opportunity to bring investment and new job opportunities to Western Australia.
“The McGowan Government’s election proposal of job creation is looking flimsier by the day,” he said.
“It appears Minister Dave Kelly was too busy with his other portfolios to put a detailed proposal together for bringing the space agency to WA.
“His attention has been elsewhere of late; specifically, devising a plan as Fisheries Minister to nationalise WA’s rock lobster industry.
“Perhaps he should have been fighting for WA’s interests in the science portfolio instead.”
Mr de Grussa said The Nationals WA had been strong advocates for the space agency to be based in Western Australia.
“WA’s unique landscape had us well suited to host a space agency,” he said.
“We have high quality radio spaces, as evidenced by the Square Kilometre Array project, and we have leading universities that were keen to be involved.”
The Nationals WA Senate candidate Nick Fardell said this week’s announcement was a disappointing outcome for Western Australia.
“Given we will soon lose a number of highly skilled staff from the Bureau of Meteorology to the Eastern States, securing this agency would have been an excellent opportunity to drive science jobs back into our State,” Mr Fardell said.
“WA has a strong connection to space exploration with projects like the Gravity Discovery Centre observatory in Gingin, the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum, and historical events such as the Skylab crash.
“Sadly, the opportunity is now lost while the blame game between the two major parties goes on.
“Both parties must face the reality that they have let this opportunity slip through their fingers and let the people of WA down.”