Canberra: The Australian government on Thursday canceled the National Space Mission for Earth Observation program for reportedly “budget repair” reasons.
Announced by the former government before the 2022 election, the program would have funded the design, construction and launch of four satellites from Australia, reports Xinhua news agency.
The satellites would have added to Australia’s global earth observation data and aided responses to bushfires and floods.
Instead, the government will continue to rely on international partners to provide the information.
Despite canceling the program, Ed Husic, the minister for industry and science, said the government still “values the role our space sector plays”.
“That’s why in our recent budget we placed the Australian Space Agency on a sustainable financial footing,” he was quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday.
The federal budget for the financial year 2023-24 was handed down by Treasurer Jim Chalmers in May, with a strong focus on cost-of-living relief as inflation remains the “primary economic challenge” for the country.
On Wednesday Chalmers said the final budget surplus for the current financial year — the first since 2008 — will come in bigger than forecast by the government in May.
However, Chalmers also said inflation and interest rate increases along with global challenges will significantly slow the economy, with the growth expected to fall from 3.25 per cent this year to 1.5 per cent next year.