It has been reported today that Greg Hunt has instructed CSIRO’s executives and the board to put their focus back on climate science. This flip flopping on climate change is just another example of a government that doesn't know what it believes in or stands for.
$37 million over 10 years is a mere fraction of the $115 million that was ripped out of CSIRO over four years - it is grossly inadequate.
The announcement in February of cuts to climate research was shocking and attracted worldwide attention.
While other nations increased resources into addressing climate change, the Turnbull Government has taken Australia backwards.
Right now some of the world’s best climate scientists, who have been made redundant, are packing up their desks, with 23 walking out the door within days.
With them goes decades of knowledge and capability.
Labor promised during the campaign to restore $249 million in funding to CSIRO over four years, and provide an additional $50 million to CSIRO to conduct vital climate and reef research.
CSIRO would not be in the situation it is today if Greg Hunt had not inflicted harsh cuts when he was Environment Minister which starved the CSIRO of external revenue funding.
The promise of 15 climate science jobs announced today comes nowhere near replacing the jobs of around 300 CSIRO scientists who are still facing the prospect of losing their jobs.
Minister Hunt’s actions are a stunning repudiation of Christopher Pyne and embattled CSIRO CEO, Larry Marshall. It calls into question Minister Pyne’s competence as Science Minister and does not bode well for the defence industry.
Today’s announcement also raises the question of whether the CEO retains the confidence of the new Minister and if so, on what grounds? The issue of CSIRO leadership and management is now critical.
Alongside the union and international science community, Labor calls on the new Minister to restore CSIRO funding and halt further job cuts.
The announcement of $37 million and a mere 15 jobs is nothing but a fig leaf and won’t fool the public.