The Abbott Government’s savage funding cuts to CSIRO – forcing the organisation to shed one in 10 of its staff – will have a devastating effect on Australia’s science and research sector, Shadow Minister for Research Senator Kim Carr warned today.
“CSIRO is our premier scientific research organisation, with an international standing, and is the brains behind a number of cutting-edge discoveries, including Wi-Fi, the first effective influenza treatment, Relenza, and the Hendra virus vaccine, among many others.
“CSIRO is now in the process of being gutted by a government which has no science minister, no science policy and, as it keeps demonstrating, absolutely no understanding of the benefits of scientific research,” Senator Carr said.
“This is part of a massive cut of at least $878 million to major science and research agencies that will see in the order of 1000 jobs lost.
“In terms of CSIRO, slicing $111.4 million out of its budget means big job losses, a range of missed opportunities and the tragic loss of scientific expertise through a brain drain.
“These are short-sighted, ill-considered, cost-cutting measures that will have profound and hugely damaging consequences for Australian expertise, innovation and potential job creation.
“It is utterly mindless,” Senator Carr said.
CSIRO has been forced to abandon or cut a number of specific areas of research, many of which have job creation potential by way of high-tech jobs and new industries, including:
- Neurosciences and colorectal cancer
- Geothermal research, carbon capture and storage, efficient energy management and liquid fuels
- Bioscience, nanoscience, device engineering and systems, and high-performance metal industries
- Investment in urban water research and marine biodiversity.
- Radio astronomy and astrophysics
The organisation has also announced further site closures, reducing its sites from 56 to 48, including:
- The Aspendale Laboratories – a stronghold of CSIRO’s marine and atmospheric research.
- The Griffith Laboratory in the New South Wales Riverina
- The Australian e-Health Research, at the University of Queensland in Herston.
Closures, consolidations and relocations already under way include:
- The Campbell, Crace and Yarralumla sites in Canberra are due to close and staff relocated to Black Mountain as part of the ACT site consolidation project
- Victoria’s Highett Laboratory will close, with staff set to be located to Clayton as part of the Clayton Property Strategy
- Geelong-Belmont, and relocating remaining staff, possibly to Waurn Ponds
- Armidale’s Arding field station will be sold
- The Morpa radio telescope facility in NSW
WEDNESDAY, 28 MAY 2014