(From left) LNP Leader Deb Frecklington, Burdekin MP Dale Last and Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour announce a $15 million election commitment to build a rocket launch site near Abbot Point. Photo: Elyse Wurm
(From left) LNP Leader Deb Frecklington, Burdekin MP Dale Last and Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour announce a $15 million election commitment to build a rocket launch site near Abbot Point. Photo: Elyse Wurm

JOBS BOON: What rocket launch site would mean for Bowen

JOBS in a range of different areas would be up for grabs under a multimillion-dollar plan to build a rocket launch site at Abbot Point.

The LNP today pledged $15 million towards the construction of the government-owned orbital rocket launch site with an estimate it would create 300 jobs.

This includes 100 jobs in construction and 200 secure jobs when anchor tenant Gilmour Space Technologies operates monthly launches.

But LNP Leader Deb Frecklington estimates the site could provide up to 6000 jobs by 2036.

Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour said many workers from the Bowen area would be needed for the project.

Workers would be required in areas such as site management, machinery operation, telecommunications, transport and logistics, Mr Gilmour said.

 

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"I think there will be quite a few people working for Gilmour space that are living in Bowen and in the area," he said.

Mr Gilmour said his company had already grown from three people to 55 in about three years and the bulk of the staff members were Australian.

Burdekin MP Dale Last said the launch site would provide a different stream of employment opportunities for Bowen residents.

"It's not linked to the ag sector, it's not linked to the mining sector, it's a stand-alone industry which is going to create literally hundreds of permanent jobs," Mr Last said.

It would also create career opportunities for students in Bowen and across North Queensland as well as drawing high-skilled workers to town, he said.

Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour and LNP Leader Deb Frecklington announce a $15 million election commitment to build a rocket launch site near Abbot Point.
Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour and LNP Leader Deb Frecklington announce a $15 million election commitment to build a rocket launch site near Abbot Point.

"As this site grows, those companies which manufacture rockets and satellite technology will relocate to this location so you will see a real expansion of this space industry in terms of manufacturing and the flow-on jobs," Mr Last said.

"We want to retain our young people and if we can offer a career path here in the aerospace sector then how fantastic would that be?"

The rocket launch site will be used by companies to send satellites and other cargo into orbit.

Abbot Point has been identified as the ideal site for a launch site as rockets are generally required to launch along a coastline to avoid flying over populations.

Launching east is also preferable as it allows them to accelerate with the earth's rotation to leave the atmosphere.

Mr Gilmour said his company already held contracts from customers that needed to launch in an easterly direction.

After extensive research into the coastline, Abbot Point was identified as the only place that could be done, he said.

"Abbot Point is the place where you can launch to more places in space safely than any other place in Australia," he said.

(From left) LNP Leader Deb Frecklington, Member for Burdekin Dale Last, Member for Dawson George Christensen and Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour with a replica rocket. The real thing will be 23m tall. Photo: Elyse Wurm
(From left) LNP Leader Deb Frecklington, Member for Burdekin Dale Last, Member for Dawson George Christensen and Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour with a replica rocket. The real thing will be 23m tall. Photo: Elyse Wurm

The first rocket they would be looking to launch would track bushfires, but Mr Gilmour said satellites played a role in many aspects of everyday life.

This included using an ATM, payWave, looking at three-day or longer weather forecasts or using digital maps.

Future communications satellites also aimed to beam internet down from space so communities did not have to rely on cell towers.

The new site could also have tourism appeal because as many as 20,000 people could attend its launch, Mr Gilmour said.

But Mr Gilmour said if Abbot Point was not used as the location for the rocket launch site, they would need to go to Kennedy Space Centre in America.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington and Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour make the major announcement at Abbot Point.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington and Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour make the major announcement at Abbot Point.

Ms Frecklington said the $15 million commitment was part of the party's plan to make Queensland a smart state again through space.

"High-tech and highly paid secure jobs are what this project is all about," she said.

"Queensland has a comparative advantage over other states when it comes to space.

"The rocket launch site will be an asset 100 per cent owned by the Queensland Government and open up new opportunities for our state."

Ms Frecklington said Queensland's space economy had the potential to pour up to $6 billion into the state economy and support up to 6000 high-skilled jobs by 2036.

The party would plan to start the project "immediately", meaning soon after the election, Ms Frecklington said.



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