Cuts to CSIRO hurting

A protest against cuts to CSIRO.

CSIRO staff remain sceptical about the future of the group's climate research program, with media reports suggesting that science minister Greg Hunt's recent announcement of additional jobs in the area does not include any new funding from the federal government.

The allocation of $37 million -- tied to the nascent Climate Science Centre in Hobart -- will apparently be sourced from CSIRO's own funds over 10 years and involves the creation of 15 new positions, based at locations still to be determined.

CSIRO Staff Association secretary Sam Popovski has written to CSIRO management demanding its program of job cuts be immediately suspended in the wake of the minister's announcement.

Popovski said the Turnbull government needs to do far more to maintain and rebuild CSIRO's climate science capacity. "Even if one accepts the minister's claim of 15 new positions at face value, this still equates with a net loss of 25 positions in Oceans and Atmosphere from Research Program One and Two," he said.

Australia's chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel said on August 15 that budget cuts to the CSIRO have seriously hurt the organisation. "It doesn't just hurt innovation, it hurts blue sky research and everything the CSIRO and universities are trying to achieve," Dr Finkel told the ABC.

The current restructure, announced in February, has led to 240 CSIRO workers being made redundant. More than 900 CSIRO staff have lost their jobs since 2013, mainly as a result of funding cut of more than $100 million in the 2014 federal budget.

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