Lucy Hughes Jones
(Australian Associated Press)
Australia’s first commercial space centre is expected to unlock more than $100 million in economic benefits for the Northern Territory, with the first rockets due to launch by the end of next year.
Traditional owners and a commercial rocket launching company have secured 275-hectares of land in North East Arnhem Land to establish the station on the Gove Peninsula.
The Labor government has signed a Project Facilitation Agreement with Equatorial Launch Australia, Gumatj Corporation and Developing East Arnhem Limited to support collaboration over the first phase of the project.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner says around 35 jobs will be created during the construction period and there will be 32 full-time equivalent jobs once the centre is operational.
“The Arnhem Space Centre will be a significant site in the Asia Pacific region and will attract new business to the region. In addition to launching satellites there will be opportunities with a focus on science, technology, engineering and maths,” he said on Tuesday.
“The project will support job creation, drive innovation and development of new technologies, boost tourism and attract new investment.”
Mr Gunner said the Gumatj clan’s sub-lease to ELA demonstrates incredible potential of Aboriginal lands and the desire for indigenous businesses to innovate for the future of their people.
Pending further regulatory processes and environmental assessments, ELA expects to start construction of the Arnhem Space Centre early next year, with the first launch expected at the end of 2018.