CSIRO job cuts a ‘body blow to science’, says union


news The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has strongly criticised the federal government over the “mass axing” of 350 more science jobs at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Making its comments along with the CSIRO Staff Association, the union said the government was “slashing Australia’s capacity to predict and adapt to climate change”.

The criticism comes following an announcement of wholesale job cuts over the next two years, primarily in the CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere and Land and Water divisions.

The job losses are “just the latest body blow by the Government to Australia’s premier science organisation”, the union said.

“This staggering attack on climate science is an act of political vandalism, pure and simple, and if the Government doesn’t back down on this it’s ordinary Australians who will ultimately pay the price,” said Nadine Flood, the CPSU’s National Secretary.

Adding that 2015 was the hottest year on record, she said that while Australian people and businesses are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s response is to “continue the Coalition’s irresponsible head-in-the-sand approach.”

“Government cuts to the CSIRO have already done untold damage, with critical research halted into Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, bowl cancer, geothermal energy and liquid fuels. This latest body blow to climate science shows the Government and CSIRO management have their priorities fundamentally wrong,” Flood continued.

Government spending on science should be about improving Australian lives, not moving CSIRO to a business model based on “speculative investment rather than real science”, the National Secretary said.

“IT start-ups might be agile, but deep science cannot be simply switched on and off again. Just because there are less buzz words to describe a laboratory that excels in detailed, long-term measurement, analysis and modelling, it does not make it irrelevant,” she concluded.

Sam Popovski, CSIRO’s Staff Association Secretary, commented: “CSIRO staff are deeply shocked at these retrograde plans, which would all but abandon areas of research where the CSIRO has the strongest track record and a global reputation.”

Popovski said he would meet with CSIRO’s new chairman, David Thodey, to raise questions about the impact of the announcements, including on regional employment.

“Prime Minister Turnbull likes to talk about digital disruption, but the reality is that climate change is a major disruption that cannot be ignored,” he said. “How can Australia mitigate and adapt to the challenges of climate change without the CSIRO scientists doing the research?”


  1. Prime Minister Malcolm ‘Political Vandal’ Turnbull’s stock in trade is political vandalism, though. Whether it’s destruction of critical infrastructure that underpinned our best hope for long term economic prosperity (the real NBN) and theft/misappropriation of tens of billions of dollars, making education only accessible to the rich, slashing health care nationally at a time when our aging population are coming to rely on it more and more, slashing social services at a time of vast economic instability and record homelessness, or slashing science funding and closing decades long research organisations and projects, our PM has had histrionics and misdirection in full swing for years to avoid people looking at the substance of his agenda and decisions.

    The irony is that there is a budget and funding issue precisely because of their mismanagement of the economy and slashing of funding in every direction. When they came into office the Australian economy was lauded as one of the most stable and successful in the world. But as they’ve slashed and burned through social services, education, health care and science they have created an unemployment problem and an economic lack of confidence that has dramatically affected consumer spending. The ‘budget emergency’ they started out with has grown out of all proportion because they have no idea how to fix it – they think they can keep slashing and burning through the budget and eventually they’ll get it out of the red. But they’re cutting the jobs and the economic stability that underpins the spending they’re relying on to fund the budget in the first place.

    Their political vandalism, economic incompetence and right-wing ideology are inseparable – Labor demonstrated during the GFC that the way to weather a potentially disastrous economic downturn is through aggressive stimulation. Sure it’s costly, but that’s what budget surpluses are for. So where are the 15 years of surplus overseen by the LNP to pay for these times of hardship? Oh, right, they misappropriated them. That seems to be a trend for the LNP…

    • political vandalism

      This phrase sums up most of this Conservative gov’s actions and agenda!

    • Australia barely felt any effects of the GFC and *EVERY* country that followed a similar stimulus model to ours came out relatively unscathed – including the US, being the last country to do so.

  2. Funny, CSIRO and “Australian Innovation” are historically synonymous, there goes another meaningless Liberal platform.
    CSIRO should have tabled some absurd propositions for rain making experiments…

  3. There go more even scientists to other countries where their services are appreciated. Brain drain from Australia – what hope do we have?

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