Reform of the Space Activities Act 1998 and associated framework

Closed 17 Apr 2017

Opened 28 Mar 2017


The Space Activities Act 1998, Space Activities Regulations 2001 (Regulations), and the Space Activities (Scientific or Educational Organisations) Guidelines 2015 create a regulatory framework for civilian space activities conducted from Australia, or by Australian nationals outside Australia (in certain circumstances). The Act and Regulations deal primarily with the launch and return of space objects. 

A review of the Space Activities Act 1998 (the Review) was announced by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, on 24 October 2015. The review’s aim was to ensure that Australia’s space regulation is appropriate to technology advancements and does not unnecessarily inhibit innovation in Australia’s space capabilities.

Various inputs to the Review included:

  • Public submissions (available at 
  • Commonwealth submissions (not publically available).
  • International stakeholder submissions (not publically available).
  • A commissioned analysis report on the public submissions written by Professor Steven Freeland (a copy of the Analysis Report is available upon request by emailing
  • A departmental paper addressing opportunities for Australian players in global supply chains in the context of the review of the Space Activities Act 1998 (a copy of the departmental paper is available upon request by emailing

A legislative proposals paper has been prepared which provides the key findings of the review, and which sets out proposed reforms to the legislation.

Why We Are Consulting

The Space Activities Act 1998 and associated framework is complex and space-related regulation must consider many diverse and often competing issues.

The legislative proposals paper presents findings of the Review, and proposed action in response to these findings. The aim of the legislative proposals paper is to provide stakeholders the opportunity to comment on specific reform proposals.  Following consideration of this feedback, a Bill will be drafted with a view to its introduction later in 2017.

Reforms under consideration include:

  • That the objects of the legislation be streamlined, to emphasise appropriately balancing risk and Australian benefit, including a focus on Australia’s international obligations and the establishment of a system of regulation for those activities.
  • That a licence type to authorise payloads be introduced.
  • That requirements currently outlined in the Space Activities Regulations 2001 , which are more relevant to launch rather than establishment of a launch facility, be transferred to the proposed new ‘Australian launch permit’ licence.
  • That a high level statement committing applicants to consider the space environment be considered. Detail on how this might be achieved may be provided in guidance material or a subordinate instrument. The ability for the Minister to provide exemption from this requirement is also proposed.
  • Proposals for possible changes in relation to fees and insurance.

To help prepare your submission, please review the Legislative Proposals Paper.

Your submission is important to us and will influence reform of the Act and associated framework.

The department’s preference is for all submissions to be made via the online survey. If you decide to make an offline submission please send it to and confirm that you agree to the department’s privacy statement and indicate whether the submission is confidential.

What Happens Next

Following the consultation, the Government will draft a new Bill. Further consultation is proposed before the finalisation of the Bill.

Further information on this process will be available on and updated periodically.


  • SMEs
  • International organisations
  • Individuals
  • Industry associations
  • Industry
  • Universities
  • Research institutions
  • Not for profit organisations
  • State / Territory Government


  • Civil space sector