The union representing CSIRO workers says the Government’s backflip on climate science capacity does not go far enough to repair the damage done by the deep and ongoing cuts to Australia’s leading research body.
CSIRO management is continuing to proceed with plans to slash 296 jobs across the organisation, including more than 60 experienced climate and marine scientists. Many of the jobs are being cut through forced redundancies
The ongoing loss of climate science talent and capacity stands in stark contrast with new Science Minister Greg Hunt’s announcement to fund 15 positions.
The CSIRO Staff Association, which is a section of the CPSU, has written to CSIRO management demanding its program of job cuts be immediately suspended in the wake of Minister Hunt’s announcement.
New funding far from adequate
CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said the Turnbull Government needs to do far more to maintain and rebuild CSIRO’s climate science capability.
“The Turnbull Government stood by for months claiming its hands were tied as CSIRO’s research capacity and international reputation suffered. Massive community concern on this issue has forced the Government to act but this is merely a band-aid solution to a major problem.”
“You don’t need to be a scientist to realise that employing 15 climate researchers when you’re in the process of sacking more than fifty doesn’t add up. It’s not going to restore CSIRO’s research capacity or repair Australia’s global reputation.”
“If Minister Hunt’s intentions to design a new CSIRO strategy are genuine and sincere, he should direct the organisation to halt all current job cuts.
“That’s why I’ve also written to CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall demanding the organisation’s redundancy program be immediately stopped. We stand ready to seek an urgent injunction in the Fair Work Commission if CSIRO management fail to do so.”
The Staff Association says the ongoing job cuts will not be genuine redundancies under the Fair Work Act if CSIRO proceeds without first consulting on the amended strategy announced by Minister Hunt and the capabilities required in the organisation as a result.
According to the latest figures from CSIRO management, some 296 positions are due to be lost across the organisation. Of the 296 expected redundancies; 40 per cent are likely to be forced redundancies.
“Clearly there are many scientists and researchers facing the sack who work in climate science. Why is the Turnbull Government and CSIRO management intent on throwing away this talent, experience and expertise?” Mr Popovski said.