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Australia secures world’s most important space science event

9 November 2016

Joint release with the NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, the Hon Stuart Ayres MP

Australia will host the world’s largest space conference in 2020, with thousands of international experts set to join local scientists and astronomers to explore future space missions and investigate trade, research and development opportunities.

Sydney will host the Scientific Assembly of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), which will be the second time the prestigious conference has been hosted in the Southern Hemisphere since 1974.  

Minister Hunt said it’s a major win for Australia to host the 43rd COSPAR – widely regarded as the world’s most important space event.

“This is a ringing endorsement of our people, infrastructure and high regard in the global space community,” Minister Hunt said.

“Australia is the perfect choice to host COSPAR. We have some of the world’s best researchers, a long history of space science and research, and we back this up with our ongoing commitment, investment and operation of major space infrastructure right across the country.”

“This includes the Square Kilometre Array project in Western Australia and the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, which has been jointly operated between CSIRO and NASA since 1965.”  

Minister Ayers confirmed Sydney won COSPAR ahead of votes for China (Shanghai), Czech Republic (Prague), Spain (Valencia) and Switzerland (Lausanne).

“Up to 3,000 international space experts will descend on the Sydney’s new $1 billion International Convention Centre with more than $10 million direct expenditure set to benefit the economy. Importantly, global conferences also lead to new trade and investment deals,” Minister Ayres said.

“Australia’s successful bid to host COSPAR was led by the Australian Academy of Science and the University of New South Wales, with the strong support of the Australian space research community and Business Events Sydney,” said Professor Russell Boyce, Director of UNSW Canberra’s space program and Chair of the Academy’s National Committee for Space and Radio Science.

“I have also worked closely with the Australian and NSW Government to develop the case to bring COSPAR to Australia.”

Business Events Sydney’s CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith confirmed that Australia’s record as a safe destination, and that having one-eighth of the world’s land mass and clear dark skies that are perfect for star-gazing, helped the bid.

“We have successfully united our community and together we have vigorously pursued this important gathering which will enable economic growth and high tech jobs of the future to be further developed on our shores and in the Asia-Pacific region,” Ms Lewis-Smith said. 

Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO, who was also behind Sydney’s bid, was delighted that Sydney will host COSPAR 2020.

“We come to the table with a bold vision for our nation’s place in science and through science, our place in space,” Dr Finkel said.

(ENDS)

Media contacts: Mr Hunt's office 02 6277 7070