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Partial cost recovery for space launch and return applications

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16 March 2021

Australia is developing a world-class space regulatory system. The regulation of Australian space and high power rocket activities will balance entrepreneurship, while ensuring national safety and security.

In this system, the Agency manages the assessment of applications made under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 (the Act). This includes:

  • launching a space object from Australia
  • returning a space object to Australia
  • launching a space object overseas (for Australian nationals with an ownership interest)
  • returning a space object overseas (for Australian nationals with an ownership interest)
  • operating a launch facility in Australia

The Australian Government agreed to introduce a partial cost recovery model. This was outlined in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) 2019-20. Fees were expected to commence on 1 July 2020. The commencement of fees was deferred to 1 July 2021 due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are now inviting public consultation on the implementation of partial cost recovery for these activities.

Fees for regulatory assessment of space related activity applications are not new. The proposed partial cost recovery framework updates the arrangements for fees set out in the Space Activities Act 1998 (the 1998 Act), and detailed in the Space Activities Regulations 2001. No fees have been charged since the reformed Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 and framework came into operation.

This means that frequently assessed applications such as Overseas Payload Permits are not expected to attract a fee.

Some applications, such as an Australian launch permit, require external technical advice. Under the partial cost recovery model recovers fees will apply. The fees will recover the costs of the  external technical expert advice. The Government has agreed to absorb the cost of work done within the Agency.

Key topics of interest under consultation include:

  • when partial cost recovery may be applied
  • the method for calculation of the fee, and providing an estimate to the applicant
  • timing for payment
  • circumstances in which a fee may be wholly or partly waived.

Submissions are now welcomed through Consultation Hub. Consultations close on the 12 April 2021.

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