The Abbott Government’s short-sighted decision to de-fund National ICT Australia (NICTA) from June 2016 will see more scientists and innovators lose their jobs.
CSIRO officials yesterday confirmed at Senate Estimates that talks are well progressed on a potential merger between the two organisations.
But they also said that, in a worst-case scenario, almost two-thirds of NICTA’s 310 jobs might be lost.
This would be another devastating blow to a science and innovation sector reeling from savage cuts under the Abbott Government.
This is a Government that has sought to cut more than $3 billion from science, research and innovation – the bedrock underpinning the jobs of the future.
This Government has overseen the largest job losses ever at CSIRO.
This Government has abolished one of the most successful government-industry research and innovation partnership organisations in Australia – NICTA.
Labor has said from the start that the idea that NICTA’s operation would get taken up in full be the private sector was a fantasy.
Nowhere in the world has an organisation that combines cutting edge blue-sky research, training for hundreds of PhD students and industry-focused application been able to survive without government support.
Labor is pleased that NICTA has found a path forward in a merger with CSIRO, but we strongly believe NICTA should never have been de-funded.
This is a second-best solution that will see more of Australia’s best and brightest looking for jobs overseas.
This Government is fuelling a science brain drain in our country and they don’t even seem to realise.
Labor urges the Government to act before it is too late, to restore NICTA’s funding and enable it to continue building the jobs of the 21st century right here in Australia.