The South Australian Space Industry Centre’s executive team brings together a wealth of diverse experience and talents responsible for growing South Australia’s space industry by providing strategy and policy advice to government.

  • Dr Andrew Dunbar
  • Dr Andrew Dunbar
  • Matt Opie

    Chief Executive

    Matt Opie commenced as Chief Executive of Defence SA in April 2024. Matt’s priority is to support and grow the defence and space sectors in South Australia to contribute to the state’s prosperity and national defence capability. His role also encompasses Chief Executive of the South Australian Space Industry Centre and responsibility for the Defence Innovation Partnership and Veterans SA.

    An Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military College Duntroon graduate, Matt has held senior defence positions across government, industry and academia over the course of his 35-year career.

    He served as an officer in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals in Australia, Europe and the Middle East.

    Matt has worked on high technology defence projects in the Asia-Pacific, US and Europe with defence forces, governments, research organisations and the private sector.

    Matt’s most recent role was at the University of South Australia as Director Defence and Space where he was responsible for the university’s research strategies and engagement with the defence and space sectors. Other previous roles included at Saab and BAE Systems in program management, business development and industry engagement.

    Matt has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration.



  • Reg Carruthers

    Executive Director Defence and Space

    Reg Carruthers commenced with Defence SA as Director, Aerospace in October 2016 with a focus on growing the aerospace industry in the state. Reg is also one of the founding members of the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) executive team and works across Government supporting the space industry. In February 2020, Reg was appointed Executive Director Defence and Space where he works with all Defence SA sector leads, Workforce and Skills, and Government Relations to support and grow the defence and space industries in the State.

    Reg joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1981, graduating from the RAAF Academy in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science. After graduating as a Navigator, he completed numerous tours flying the AP3C Orion on operations and exercises nationally and internationally. He completed a three year exchange program flying the CP140 Aurora in Canada, and completed numerous commands including 28 active reserve squadron, the 92 Wing detachment in Butterworth Malaysia, 10 Squadron RAAF Edinburgh and the AP3C Operational Task Group on active duty in the Middle East Area of Operations.

    Reg’s last military command was as Commander of the Aerospace Operational Support Group (now Air Warfare Centre) responsible for electronic warfare, cyber, intelligence, aviation medicine, aviation publications and flight test, weapons and engineering squadrons, as well as the Woomera Test Range.

    Reg has completed staff positions in policy and plans and as staff officer to the Chief of Air Force, as well as an instructor on the Australian Command and Staff College. He is a graduate of the Australian Staff Course and a Distinguished Graduate from the US National War College. He has a Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies (Canberra) and Masters of Science (National Security Strategy) Washington DC.

    After 31 years in uniform, Reg transferred to the Public Service as Director of the Woomera Test Range in 2012, overseeing the project to modernise range systems and the establishment of RAAF Base Woomera.

    Reg remains an active member of the Air Force Reserves and as a Group Captain is Honorary ADC to the Governor General.

  • Dr Catherine Grace


    Joining SASIC in 2021, Catherine was appointed to the role of Director, Space in February 2023. Catherine is heavily involved in supporting the development of South Australia as the nation’s centre-of-gravity for space activity, leading industry and economic development activities for the state and guiding the development of South Australia’s space sector strategy.

    Catherine has a strong focus on emerging opportunities in disruptive technology, and is committed to educational outreach and equity across the Space and Defence sectors.

    Catherine is a (registered) physician who has held international roles in clinical research, partnership engagement and strategy development. A graduate of the International Space University (SHSSP22), Catherine has also studied Archaeology & Human Biology, holds an MBBS (Medical University of Warsaw) and Post Graduate qualifications in Research and Defence.

    An enthusiastic speaker and multilingual orator, Catherine has also been recognised for contributions to medical research and gender diversity.

  • Dr Andrew Dunbar


    Andrew is currently Acting Executive Director, Innovation and Science in the Department for Innovation and Skills. Most recently he was Chief Operating Officer, Office of the South Australian Chief Entrepreneur and prior to this role, Director of the Office of Science, Technology and Research within the Department.

    Andrew has more than 17 years’ experience working in the life sciences (biotech and pharma) industry both in Australia and Europe.

    Andrew has a PhD in molecular biology/ biochemistry from Flinders University, and is an Observer on the Board of the SA Venture Capital Fund, an Advisory Board Member of UniSA’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre and the Medical Devices Partnering Program at Flinders University and is a Director of SABRENet Ltd. Previous roles included Board Director and Vice President of Childhood Cancer Association, Director Business and Corporate Development at Mayne Pharma Group and Senior Manager, Corporate Business Development and Acquisitions at Novozymes A/S, based in Denmark. He has also held senior roles at GroPep Ltd, Bionomics Ltd and CSIRO. Andrew is a Graduate Member of the AICD.