CSIRO staff slam govt 'repair job' on climate science

August 12, 2016
A protest against CSIRO staff cuts.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Staff Association says the Turnbull government's backflip on climate science research does not go far enough to repair the damage done by the deep and ongoing cuts to Australia's leading public research body.

CSIRO management is continuing with plans to slash 296 jobs across the organisation, including more than 60 experienced climate and marine scientists. About 40% of the jobs are expected to be cut through forced redundancies.

The ongoing loss of experienced climate science staff stands in stark contrast to new science minister Greg Hunt's announcement that the government would fund an additional 15 positions.

The CSIRO Staff Association, a section of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), has written to CSIRO management demanding its program of job cuts be immediately suspended in the wake of Hunt's announcement.

CSIRO Staff Association secretary Sam Popovski said on August 4 that the Turnbull government needs to do far more to maintain and rebuild CSIRO's climate science capability.

"The Turnbull government stood by for months claiming its hands were tied as CSIRO's research capacity and international reputation suffered. Massive community concern on this issue has forced the government to act, but this is merely a band-aid solution to a major problem.

"You don't need to be a scientist to realise that employing 15 climate researchers when you're in the process of sacking more than 50 doesn't add up. It's not going to restore CSIRO's research capacity or repair Australia's global reputation.

"If Minister Hunt's intentions to design a new CSIRO strategy are genuine and sincere, he should direct the organisation to halt all current job cuts.

"That's why I've also written to CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall demanding the organisation's redundancy program be immediately stopped. We stand ready to seek an urgent injunction in the Fair Work Commission if CSIRO management fail to do."

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