Leading expert available to comment on the Australian Space Agency and the Space Activities Amendment (Launches and Returns) Bill 2018

Satellite in space

As the Space Activities Amendment (Launches and Returns) Bill 2018 is introduced to Parliament this week, Australia’s leading expert in space law is available to comment on the significance and implications of the Bill, as well as the broader outlook for Australia’s further engagement in a broad range of space activities and the challenges and opportunities for the Australian Space Agency.

Professor Steven Freeland, Dean of the School of Law at Western Sydney University and Professor of International Law, is a leading expert in International Criminal Law, Human Rights Law, and the Commercial Aspects of Space Law.

Professor Freeland has for several years been Australia’s representative at the legal subcommittee meeting of the United National Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) in Vienna, and has advised the Australian Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and the New Zealand Government, on issues related to the regulation of space activities.

He was also a member of the Government appointed Expert Reference Group that made recommendations about the establishment of the Australian Space Agency, and the way forward for Australia in terms of space industry capability and strategy.

In 2015, Professor Freeland was asked to assist the Government in a review of the Space Activities Act 1998, and presented his report to Government in August 2016. The amendment Bill, which has been introduced to Parliament this week, incorporates options and concepts included in  Professor Freeland’s recommendations.

“This Bill is in line with the need to streamline the licence application process; to update of the scope of the law to take account of new technologies; and the reduction of the financial burdens imposed on applicants,” says Professor Freeland.

“The Bill provides an important regulatory framework, which will further reduce barriers to participation and encourage investment and industry innovation in space activities.”

The reform of the legislation coincides with the other major review undertaken by the Government involved – which saw an Expert Reference Group (of which Professor Freeland was a member) provide a report to Government on the proposed strategy for Australia’s space-industry capabilities going forward, as well as the Charter for the soon-to-be-established Australian Space Agency.

Professor Freeland noted that “it is an exciting time for Australia as we institute various legislative, regulatory and industry initiatives that will place the country in a far better place to compete in the rapidly growing global space economy.”

“We have great expertise and research capability and the challenge – but also opportunity – rests with us all to utilise our strengths and niche capabilities in a highly significant and relevant national and global market.”


31 May 2018

Danielle Roddick, Manager, Media and Public Relations