CSIRO climate cuts a body blow to Australian science

The CPSU and CSIRO Staff Association have condemned the Government over the mass axing of 350 more scientists, slashing Australia’s capacity to predict and adapt to climate change.

Today’s announcement of the wholesale job cuts over the next two years, mainly in the CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere and Land and Water divisions, is just the latest body blow by the Government to Australia’s premier science organisation.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood 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.”

“2015 was the hottest year on record and Australian people and businesses are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, yet 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, bowel cancer, geothermal energy and liquid fuels. This latest body blow to climate science shows the Government and CSIRO management have their priorities fundamentally wrong.”

“The fact this gutting of the CSIRO is being modelled on Netflix and Silicon Valley shows how hollow and warped Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s innovation rhetoric really is. Taxpayer spending on science should be about improving Australian lives now and in the future, not moving CSIRO to a business model based on speculative investment rather than real science."

“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.”

CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said: “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.”

“CSIRO management has shown a sad lack of respect for staff in the way this process has been handled. I will be meeting with new CSIRO chairman David Thodey this afternoon and will be raising serious questions about the impact of today’s 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. How can Australia mitigate and adapt to the challenges of climate change without the CSIRO scientists doing the research?”

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