The Australian government has announced plans to establish a national space agency. Although the country has played a key role in international space programs for decades, creating its own agency will allow Australia to grow a domestic space industry and keep funds and scientists alike from heading overseas.

The Australian Federal Government is announcing the plans this week at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, which is being attended by Elon Musk, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and figures from NASA and other space agencies and organizations from around the world.

The Opposition Government is also expected to outline its own plans for an Australian space agency at the conference.

The move comes after a review by an Expert Reference Group, which has "overwhelmingly shown the need for the establishment of a national space agency."

"The global space industry is growing rapidly and it's crucial that Australia is part of this growth," says Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Michaelia Cash. "A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry. The agency will be the anchor for our domestic coordination and the front door for our international engagement."

Source: Australian Federal Government