CSIRO is still waiting for a new Board Chair, one month after former Chair, Simon McKeon’s appointment expired.
On 29 June, the Minister for Industry and Science, Ian Macfarlane announced two last-minute CSIRO Board appointments to avoid an impending 50 per cent vacancy rate.
But that announcement still left three positions vacant, including the Chair.
This is just the latest evidence that the Abbott Government does not respect science or think it should be a priority.
At the time, Labor urged Mr Macfarlane to fill these vacancies as a matter of urgency, and to provide certainty by appointing a new Chair as soon as possible.
Since then, CSIRO has announced a new Strategy 2020, laying out its plan to become a global collaboration hub.
But Mr Macfarlane has left Australia’s largest research agency in limbo when it comes to the Board leadership that will help deliver this vision.
The Abbott Government’s 2014 Budget stripped $115 million from CSIRO, leading to the largest loss of jobs in the organisation’s history.
Its 2015 Budget did nothing to repair the damage and Mr Macfarlane now seems to have settled on a strategy of neglect.
Unfortunately, neglect is not benign when it comes to the science and research that will power the jobs of the future.
Only Labor is committed to working with Australia’s publicly funded research agencies, universities and industry to build the strong innovation system we need.