Indigenous businessman and Managing Director of Gunggandji Aerospace Daniel Joinbee has been recognised as Indigenous Space Leader of the Year at the Space Connect Australian Space Awards. This award celebrates Joinbee, a defence force veteran, and proud descendant of the Gunggandji People of Yarrabah, as an Indigenous leader in Australia’s space industry. Joinbee’s Gunggandji Aerospace provides non-traditional career pathway support for First Nations people and other disadvantaged communities into emerging sovereign industries.
The 2023 Australian Space Awards drew industry individuals and businesses together to celebrate up-and-coming leaders and stakeholders who are driving the development of Australia’s space economy.
“I’m honoured to receive the Indigenous Space Leader of the Year award. I hope we continue to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the conversation as our space industry expands,” says Joinbee.
“It’s incredible to see Daniel Joinbee spearhead so many incredible initiatives supporting Indigenous Australians at this exciting and formative time of the Australian space industry. In order for us to create a genuinely unique space community, we need people like Daniel to continue this important work”, says William Magee, Director of Space Connect.
This award has come when Australia’s space industry is expected to expand rapidly, with Australia holding geographical and geopolitical advantages in the international space arena. Some of the many advantages include Australia’s proximity to the equator and remote locations that can be used for spaceports. Australia’s space economy will also grow, tripling to $12 billion by 2030, according to Australian government estimates. Gunggandji Aerospace aims to ensure that First Nations Australians are able to take advantage of the Australian government’s recently announced goal of creating up to 20,000 new Australian space sector jobs by 2030.
“Not only will organisations like Gunggandji Aerospace assist in filling the critical skills gap and bolster the future of jobs in the space industry, but incorporating Indigenous knowledge will also complement the current industry’s understanding of space and astronomy. Australia and the world can learn a lot from Indigenous Australians and their historical connection to astronomy and space,” Joinbee says.
The Australian Space Awards, run by Space Connect and Momentum Media, celebrate the best of the best in Australia’s space sector and the outstanding contributions of professionals and businesses working with industry across 20 sectors.