Malinauskas must seek “ironclad” assurances Australian Space Agency remains in Adelaide if Labor wins Federal election: SA-BEST

13 December 2018


State Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas must get an “ironclad” personal guarantee from Bill Shorten that the Australian Space Agency will be headquartered in Adelaide if Labor wins next year’s Federal election, SA-BEST demanded today.

SA-BEST MLC and Defence Industries spokesperson, Frank Pangallo, said Mr Malinauskas faced his “first test on the national stage” in guaranteeing the Agency’s long-term future in SA.

Frank said Labor’s national conference in Adelaide this weekend was the perfect opportunity for Mr Malinauskas to speak “face to face” with the Federal Opposition Leader to seek his full support for the Agency being based in Adelaide – regardless of who wins next year’s federal election.

Frank raised his concerns today following ongoing comments by senior Federal Labor stalwart and its innovation, industry, science and research spokesperson, Kim Carr, that the agency should be based in Canberra.

“SA-BEST has real concerns that if Labor wins next year’s Federal election it will scrap the Prime Minister’s plans and relocate the Agency to Canberra,” Frank said.

“The Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday was great news for the entire state – but it could be short-lived,” he said.

“This is Peter Malinauskas’ first test as State Opposition Leader on the national stage.

“Labor’s National Conference in Adelaide this weekend will allow Mr Malinauskas to seek Mr Shorten’s personal ironclad guarantee the Australian Space Agency will be based for the long term in Adelaide.

“He knows only too well the role our state will have on the results of the Federal election.

“But not seeking that personal guarantee from Bill Shorten may backfire on them both following the election results.”

SA-BEST will work with its Federal Centre Alliance colleagues to ensure the long-term future of the Agency remains in SA.

Centre Alliance Senator, Rex Patrick, has also voiced his concerns about the potential of Federal Labor – if it forms government next year – to base the Agency in Canberra.

“Given South Australia’s obvious pre-eminence in space related research, development and activity, it would have been extraordinary if the Government’s decision had gone any other way,” Rex said.

“However, the Australian Space Agency’s future is far from assured given Senator Carr has been stridently advocating for the space headquarters to be located in Canberra,” he said.

“Federal Labor has vigorously opposed any relocation of Australian government agencies from the national capital to other parts of Australia.

“The new agency now needs bipartisan commitment and certainty if it is to develop and deliver the boost to Australian space activities that it should.

“However partisan politics, not Australia’s national interest, is at the forefront of Senator Carr’s thinking. Meanwhile Federal Labor Senate Leader Penny Wong and all her South Australian colleagues – Kate Ellis, Mark Butler, Nick Champion, Amanda Rishworth, Tony Zappia, Steve Georganas, Alex Gallacher and Don Farrell - have had absolutely nothing to say.

“What they should be doing is booting Kim Carr into political orbit and committing to keep the Australian Space Agency firmly on the ground in Adelaide.”

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