in brief Australia’s peak ICT research body National ICT Australia will be forced to make substantial job cuts to its Victorian operations, ZDNet reports today, as the result of funding cuts by the Victorian State Government. The media outlet reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):
“NICTA confirmed a tip published in Friday’s edition of the Crikey newsletter that almost half of the jobs are now set to go from the agency’s Victorian lab.”
The news represent the second set of bad funding news in just a few months. During the 2013 Federal Election, Labor Digital Economy Minister Kate Lundy had promised the organisation an extra $42 million in funding (although the money had already been allocated as part of the 2013 Federal Budget). The Coalition subsequently confirmed that the funding would no go ahead, in a list of cuts ahead of the election.
Both rounds of funding will not leave NICTA destitute. Lundy’s statement in mid-August on the matter revealed that the Federal Government had invested another $88 million in NICTA over the next three years in total. Lundy’s statement also noted that NICTA had received funding of $564.5 million in total over the period from 2002 to 2015.
However, the moves do have the potential to severely limit NICTA’s operations over the next several years. The organisation currently undertakes ICT research, training, commercialisation and industry development activities with the public and private sectors. It has five research laboratories (two in Sydney and one each in Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane). Last year, the organisation said it had over 580 researchers, technical and professional staff, 260 PhD students working across 30 research projects, training and commercialisation activities and partnerships with 17 universities.