South Australia has edged out the likes of NSW and Victoria to become home to Australia’s first-ever space agency.

The location of the agency has been a hot topic of conversation since the its inception earlier this year, but on Tuesday morning Prime Minister Scott Morrison put speculation to bed.

“Australia’s space industry is set to hit new heights,” he said.

“This Agency is going to open doors for local businesses and Australian access to the US$345 billion global space industry.

“This Agency is part of our plan for a stronger economy for South Australia and the country which is about delivering long-term, high-wage, high-skills jobs.”

The site will be located the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct at the old Adelaide Hospital site and is expected by the government to help create 20,000 jobs by 2030.

There will be 20 full-time equivalent staff in Adelaide when the site opens.

The strongest case

Since day dot, the mission of the Australian Space Agency has been to triple the size of the local industry to the value of $12 billion.

According to Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, Adelaide is the ideal location to facilitate this goal.

“South Australia is already home to more than 60 organisations and 800 employees in the space sector and this decision builds on the very strong technology and defence presence in the state,” Andrews said.

“Australia’s science, research and technology sectors are key in improving the competitiveness of Australian businesses – and only under our government’s strategic and strong economic management can these flourishing sectors continue to expand.”

The Lot Fourteen site that will house the agency under construction earlier. Source: South Australia Government

As part of South Australia’s bid to host the agency, the State government vowed it could have the agency set up within six months.

It also pledged to give the agency $1 million in state funding over the next four years.

This will be in addition to the Federal government’s initial $41 million investment, announced in this year’s federal budget.

Sky's the limit for South Australia

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall anticipates the space agency will improve the state’s existing space industry.

“South Australia is the ideal location for the Australian Space Agency with a range of local space industry businesses already established here as well as a rapidly growing defence industry sector,” he said.

“Establishing the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency in South Australia will launch our space and defence sectors to the next level.

“I look forward to working with the Federal Government, industry and our education sector to capitalise on this incredible opportunity for our state.”

The University of Adelaide immediately welcomed the decision.

“At the University of Adelaide, we are excited about South Australia once again becoming known as a leader in space," said Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pascale Quester.

“With the announcement of the new national space agency, the University of Adelaide is uniquely placed to build on years of expertise in the fields of engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics and law, and their application to space.

“We look forward to working with the Federal and State Governments in achieving their vision for the national space agency and in launching a dedicated space industry for Australia. In doing so, we will play our role in helping to reinvent the South Australian economy.”

Global space technology company BAE Systems also welcomed the South Australian win.

“The Australian Space Agency will open up opportunities for Australian industry to share in the multi-billion-dollar global space market,” said Australian Chief Executive, Gabby Costigan.

“It will support long-term industry-led research and the development of technologies, sustainable advanced manufacturing and further strengthen prospects for Australian business’ to enter new markets.”