The Staff Association has welcomed the release of Science Minister Greg Hunt’s new Statement of Expectations for CSIRO, following an extensive and comprehensive development process with stakeholders.
In launching the statement, Minister Hunt said that “the Australian Government wants CSIRO to become the world’s premier public research organisation by building on its current standing and capabilities.”
The new Statement of Expectations… outlines the Turnbull Government’s vision for CSIRO for the next decade and puts a clear focus on world leading pure and translated scientific research,” Minister Hunt said.
Public good research back in vogue
Minister Hunt said the statement aimed to reinforce CSIRO’s “role in performing pure science for the public good as a foundation stone to the national benefit, knowledge and capabilities, at the same time leading the translation of that science into innovative outcomes.”
“These outcomes will continue to improve Australians’ quality of life with better health, food production and quality, environmental resilience and economic capability,” Minister Hunt said.
Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski welcomed “the clear ‘rebalancing’ of public benefit research and commercialisation focus at CSIRO,” citing the “commitment to climate research and decadal forecasting” as an encouraging example.
While proposed increases in CSIRO staffing and funding would be judged on the detail contained in the next federal budget, Mr Popovski singled out the resolution of enterprise bargaining as an immediate, pressing concern.
Employer of choice?
“CSIRO should aim to be an international employer of choice, promote careers in science and provide a career path for research and technical staff, and be an exemplar in cultivating a diverse workforce,” Minister Hunt said.
“We agree with the Minister that CSIRO should be an ‘employer of choice’ however staff are rightly concerned this is at risk due to the current bargaining impasse and policies that aim to strip working conditions and rights,” Mr Popovski said.
“More must be done at CSIRO to develop a ‘diverse workforce’ including more transparent and effective strategies to support women, staff from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and early career researchers.”
Mr Popovski also welcomed the Minister’s intention to seek advice on ‘significant issues relating to the health of the organisation,’ noting that the health and wellbeing of staff themselves should not be overlooked.