About the program
In the 2018-19 Federal Budget the Australian Government announced an investment of $224.9 million for us to enable precise positioning for Australia. The purpose of the program is to deliver a national capability that accelerates the adoption and development of location-based technology and applications. Funding of $160.9 million supports the development of an Australian Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) while a further $64 million is dedicated to upgrading Australia's ground network through the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability.
In February 2020, Australia and New Zealand entered into a partnership to jointly deliver the SBAS component of the program. This will be the first such system in the Southern Hemisphere and will be called the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network, or SouthPAN.
The procurement phase for SouthPAN is currently underway with initial signals to be provided progressively and a fully-operational and certified system in place by 2025. It will provide positioning accuracy to the 10 cm level across Australia and New Zealand and will also improve positioning for marine operations in the Australasian region.
We facilitate technical and policy coordination on a range of challenges, including data and service standards, spectrum management, GNSS capability development, multilateral cooperation and legal traceability of position. National leadership on Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) more broadly is supported by the following coordination committees:
- The NPI Advisory Board established and chaired by Geoscience Australia provides strategic guidance on NPI capability design and implementation. Expert representatives from government, industry and research provide advice to Geoscience Australia on current and future positioning requirements across Australia and New Zealand.
- The Space Coordination Committee (SCC) established under Australia's Satellite Utilisation Policy is a forum for the Australian Government to coordinate and prioritise its involvement in civil space activities. The PNT Working Group chaired by Geoscience Australia is a permanent committee under the SCC, which coordinates and prioritises PNT issues of national significance, including GNSS spectrum management, multilateral coordination, NPI capability planning, SBAS and critical infrastructure resilience.
- The Space Cross-Sectoral Interest Group established under the Attorney-General's Department's Trusted Information Sharing Network (TISN) supports national risk planning for Australia's growing reliance on space-based assets such as GNSS. Geoscience Australia contributes PNT expertise alongside specialists from Australia's satellite communications and Earth Observations from Space (EOS) communities.
- The Positioning, Navigation and Timing Working Group (PNT-WG) draws together Australian Government agencies involved in PNT to advise the SCC on the status and future of civilian PNT activities in Australia.
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Email us at NPI@ga.gov.au.