A study for Geoscience Australia to determine the economic value of space based Earth observation activities to Australia in the 2008-09 financial year was conducted through the CRCSI.

This study informs development of a National Space Policy for Australia. The Project aimed to obtain an estimate of the economic value of space-based earth observation which goes beyond traditional "footprint" measures and extends into the true economic impact, including a measure of indirect economic impacts.

KEY FINDINGS                                                   

  • Earth observation report
  • EOS contributed at least $3.3 billion to Australian GDP in 2008-09
  • On conservative assumptions it is estimated that the contribution to GDP could grow to around $4.0 billion by 2015
  • Additional benefits in climate change adaptation, emergency response and natural resource management are conservatively valued at $1.0 billion per year
  • The commercial sector comprises around 35 small to medium enterprises with estimated combined annual sales of between $30 million and $40 million
  • The economic cost of a denial of service requiring "source shift" is likely to be at least $100 million in the year during which it occurs
  • Earth observationA complete denial of service would put billions of dollars of benefits at risk - even if the impacts on Australia's defence preparedness are ignored
  • Australia launching a single major, high cost satellite for civilian purposes is not necessarily seen by industry participants as 
    the best "insurance" against a denial of service nor would it provide adequate data for all users
  • A portfolio of investments to secure access to a number of satellites, to funnel data and to raise awareness and Earth observation 2coordination across government is generally considered to be more cost-effective
  • Launching a small number of low cost micro-satellites, notably for use in weather applications, might also form part of a sensible investment portfolio
  • In the medium term, major government applications of EOS are likely to be in climate change, natural resources and emergency management, as well as in defence and national security