RICHES FROM SPACE: Jobs and business opportunities abound as experts recommend a Cooloola Coast space industry.
RICHES FROM SPACE: Jobs and business opportunities abound as experts recommend a Cooloola Coast space industry. SDenisov

Gympie national parks our unlikely key to space billions

THE Cooloola Coast's vast areas of conservation and recreational space have positioned Gympie region for a stake in the billion-dollar business and employment benefits of another kind of space altogether.

Gympie state MP Tony Perrett told MPs the Gympie region's coastal national park areas, large ocean areas and easily controlled air space made it a perfect fit for the needs of the space industry.

He said the area enjoyed geographical advantages from its lattitude, which he said was similar to that of Florida.

"If the government is serious about progressing a space industry, I could think of no better place than Gympie,” Mr Perrett said.

He said the government was inquiring into job creation and business opportunities from a Queensland space industry.

"With space as a new frontier, the committee looked at opportunities to create jobs and promote existing supply chain capability from a space industry in Queensland,” Mr Perrett said.

"Among the 15 recommendations is developing site options in retgional Queensland for a launch facilities.

"I am excited that Gympie, or more specifically the Cooloola Coast was highlighted by experts as an ideal place (for) a launch site.”

He quoted space industry promoter Nick Green, who is general manager of the organisation, Defence and Aerospace Special Projects Products for Industry.

Mr Green had said it was hard to find a better spot than Gympie.

"The preference for the Gympie type of area is primarily based on my experience,” Mr Green had said.

"Looking at the entire Australia, (the Cooloola Coast) is pretty much the golden point (for location).

"Being so close to industry” was one point, but so was the large area of the coast and nearby ocean that was sparsely populated.

"You have a large clear area. It is a bit hard to find anything else like it.”.

Mr Perrett took up the call, saying "Gympie can provide a wide variety of obital inclinations as it has a similar lattitude to Florida, which makes it the perfect spot.

"It is suitable for a wide variety of types of launches because it offers a clear and saf eastrly flight path over an opn ocean.

"It is south of the great Barrier Reef. The airspace is easily controlled as it is already under Department of Defence jurisdiction because Defence airspace is within 10km of the coast.

"Gympie is also close enough to Amberley to be able to leverage off its sophisticated radar facilities.

"Amberley's microwave radar tracking stations have scope and reach over Gympie region.

"This means that as rocket tracking systems would not have to be installed it makes it a significantly cheaper start-up cost.

"It also opens the possibility to launching hypersonic technoology.”

Mr Perrett aso quoted Hypersonic Propulsion shair at Queensland University's School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, Michael Smart, who identified a need for a 30km clear space, something which he said was uniquely available at Cooloola.

"The Gympie area, through the Great Sandy National Park has the potential to have about 30km clear, full circle, to be able to launch.

"That is quite unique, sitting on the coast of Australia,let alone somewhere cloase that makes it economically viable for industry to be doing these sorts of things.

"There is a landing strip at Rainbow Beach that is perfect for things like drone technology or landing rockets from hypersonic technology,” he said.

Mr Perrett said the parliamentary committee had been told an analysis based on a $10 million launch facility had identified $7 million return in jobs growth in hte first year.

This did not include analysis on its impact on tourism, the supply chain and other spin-off logistical industries.

"Similar sites elsewhere had found an increase in tourism from people watching a rocket launch and renewed interest in star gazing events and museum and science exhibitions.

"Our affordable lifestyle and easy access to the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane makes the Gympie region an ideal and attractive place for launch site staff and their families to live,” Mr Perrett said.