My final role before I left the ADF was as the commander of the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) at the RAAF’s Edinburgh Air Base, which included oversight of space launch and recovery operations conducted at the RAAF’s Woomera Space Range Complex.

One of the key emerging domains in defence into which Australia must continue to invest is the space sector.

At the celebration of the successful launch, in late 2023, of the SpIRIT Satellite.

I have led calls for the creation of the Australian Space Agency and the development of space related industry within Australia—spanning payloads, space vehicles and launch capabilities—to ensure sovereign control over technologies that are critical for our national security.

The development of a national space strategy to unite industry in promoting our national goals and engaging Australia in the establishment of global space protocols continue to be a major focus of mine—building on my involvement in the establishment of the Australian Space Agency in 2018.

[David’s] approach has extended beyond Defence to related fields such as space, where respect for David’s knowledge and experience allowed him access to the highest offices in the nation where he was able to focus the right experts at the right moment, having a direct influence on the decision to establish the Australian Space Agency.

JIM WHALLEY AO
Nova Systems (Australia’s largest privately-owned defence and space company)

I was honoured to represent the Australian Government at the grand opening of the Fleet Space Technologies’ satellite ground station—the first major project to be unveiled following the establishment of the Australian Space Agency.

Additionally, I have worked to support Australian space industry, hosting ministerial visits to highlight the work of local space manufacturers in South Australia.

My advocacy is ongoing—in 2022, I addressed the Australian Space Summit in Sydney, taking the opportunity to highlight the former Coalition Government’s commitment to Australia’s defence and space industries. I continue to work alongside my colleagues in parliament, various ministers, public servants and local space industry here in South Australia to see better outcomes and innovation in the space sector for the national interest.

Labor’s decisions to axe space programs highlight the need for a Liberal Government to provide positive leadership in this field.