ANTHONY CHISHOLM [ASSISTANT MINISTER]: It’s great to be here at the University of Southern Queensland to launch this program. This is a fantastic outcome for the University and its partners. I congratulate the Vice-Chancellor and the team that have worked on this because it will deliver significant benefits to Toowoomba and the region. This accelerator program is going to provide enormous benefits for the local economy but also the economy right across Australia as well. We see these developments as ones that will be able to create job and economic opportunity, and it’s really pleasing that that will be able to happen at a Trailblazer right here in Toowoomba. We want all of Australia to benefit from our efforts to rebuild manufacturing in this country. We think that this program, the Trailblazer Program, works hand in glove with what the Government are also trying to achieve with manufacturing. So, we’re really excited by the commercialisation, by the jobs and new partnerships that this will create. We think it’s important for the country, but we also think it’s important that those benefits are spread right across the country. So, having the University of Southern Queensland on board is significant, and I’m really pleased that I could be here representing the Federal Government to launch this program today.
JOURNALIST: Thanks. How competitive was the funding – you know, the projects that were being put forward for the program?
CHISHOLM: Well, anyone who knows anything about universities know that they’re always very competitive when it comes to these processes. But what we know and what I'm confident in is that they're going to make a success of this. I saw the excitement in the room today. I know the industry partnerships that have already been developed and will continue to develop. So, I think that this is going to be a great outcome, and I’m really excited to see what it brings for the future of this region and the country.
JOURNALIST: Anthony, how important is space to Australia? Why is that where we’ve chosen to put that money in this development and research?
CHISHOLM: It’s one of a number of areas that we’ve focused on as part of the Trailblazer Programs. I’ve launched one on food and beverage, I’m launching one in a couple of weeks on defence. So, it’s about identifying areas of interest, but also ones that we think could be developed further so that Australia can be at the cutting edge in the future, but it can also create jobs and economic development and commercialisation opportunities at the same time. There’s no doubt that in space the country has been underdone. We think this investment working with the universities involved will help fix that and create more benefit over a long term.
JOURNALIST: Anthony, does the Labor Government have any concrete sort of vision for what Australia’s space industry looks like in 10 years or even 20 years?
CHISHOLM: We certainly do. We think that there’s an unbelievable amount of jobs that can be created. We think that there’s commercialisation opportunities. We think that there’s future study opportunities as well. I think that when you look at what the government wants to achieve in advanced manufacturing, there’s no doubt that the skills that will be developed as part of this Trailblazer Program will be able to be used more widely than just the space industry. And I think particularly what we’re doing in defence is extremely relevant to that. So, we think that there’s enormous crossover benefits but as well what will be developed through this Trailblazer Program to ensure that there’s jobs and opportunity being created across the country.
JOURNALIST: How important is it that regional Queensland education facilities get opportunities like this? What benefits do they bring to the regions?
CHISHOLM: I think it’s absolutely vital. I know that the University of Southern Queensland was involved in the food and beverage Trailblazer Program as well. So they’re doing extremely well, but they’re focused as well. So, this University has done a great job leading the charge, really advocating the case that they should be included in this program. We want to see those economic benefits that come from universities working in collaboration with governments to create those jobs and opportunities for us right across the state, but also giving education opportunities for people right across the state. The one thing I’m excited about here is imagine school children from the local area coming here and seeing the work that’s being done and how inspirational that will be – to see a cutting-edge university researching space, inspiring the next generation of those at school to study in this area. That’s really exciting for me.
JOURNALIST: The Labor Government recently scrapped a $1 billion satellite program. Are you going to invest funds from those programs back into the programs like these?
CHISHOLM: Yeah, that decision was made and there is money that is left over that the government will make future announcements on. But I think that me being here today, the support for the Trailblazer Program, shows you that the Albanese Government is committed to space. We think that there’s enormous opportunity, and we really look forward to seeing the work that will happen and the industry partnerships that will develop and the commercialisation that will follow as part of this program.
JOURNALIST: Thank you, Assistant Minister.