ConnectEO 5th interview: Daniel O’toole (AUSTRADE)

Introducing our fifth guest Daniel O’toole, from AUSTRADE, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission which promotes Australian trade, investment, tourism and education to the world. They deliver services to grow Australia’s economic prosperity. They are experts in connecting Australian businesses to the world and the world to Australian businesses. Their global network turns local market connections and insights into valuable export and investment support.

What is AUSTRADE and what do you offer to international companies?

AUSTRADE is the Australian government agency for promoting Australian exportables and attracting investment. We work with Australian companies to help them enter new international markets. We also work with investors to help them understand Australia and manage the investment process. If you are interested in working with Australia or investing in Australia, AUSTRADE can help you manage your risks and help you understand the ecosystem for the particular sector you are looking at in Australia, identify key stakeholders and help you identify national incentives and other avenues for support. The Trade and Investment Commission will be an honest broker for you between the state and the territory governments. Each state and territory has their own incentives structures and different environments that you will operate as a company. AUSTRADE can help you to manage your relationship with the various state and territory and the best understanding of what is the most ideal location for your company to set up in.

Could you give us an overview of the Earth Observation sector in Australia?

The EO market in Australia is one of the most important sector within the space sector as a whole. The Australian Space Agency has identified 7 priorities and Earth Observation is one of them (among robotics, communication technologies, access to space, etc). The sector as a whole is a major contributor to the Australian economy as Australia is a very vast land but we have a population of around 25 million people and a complex envirnoment, so we need a clear understanding of the various changes the environment pose for us especially the primary sector (mining, agriculture) but also for city planning. EO is a major focus area for the government but also industry. The Australian Space Agency last year released their EO from space roadmap which identify that EO sector as a whole contributed around 283 million dollars in value to the Australian economy. It has got a strong need within the general economy but also within the government as well.

What are the main stakeholders in Australia and how can SMEs look for synergies there?

There is a range of stakeholders: Australian space agencies are of course crucial stakeholders, the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, Department of Defence, SmartSat CRCs.

Recently, in the framework of a ConnectEO webinar, you presented some financing programs for EO companies: could you give us a summary of these opportunities?

A range of different areas of focus/opportunities for EO companies:  international space investment initiative, SmartSat CRC initiative for R&D projects (I-In-The-Sky), National mission for EO with the Australian Space Agency, Defence project 799, etc.

What other opportunities are there in Australia for EO companies beyond the government projects?

Earth observation contributes to 283 million dollars to the economy, so I would advice the SMEs to look at the primary sector, but also IoT, tracking systems, construction, smart cities etc. I encourage companies to look at how they can contribute to these sectors as well. COVID-19 has increased the demand for some of these technologies and limited access to labour, increase openess toward new technologies.

For more insights, watch the whole interview here: