Looking back on 2017

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Sam Popovski (R) with Staff Association members at CSIRO Clayton

Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski reflects on the year that was and asks whether CSIRO may be headed for a more stable 2018.

IT’S NOT AN EASY TASK to look back on recent events and make complete sense of our working lives at CSIRO and judge the health and standing of the organisation; especially after years of cuts. Predictions for the future are even more problematic; for instance, the latest Turnbull Government reshuffle means we have yet another new minister who will now exercise portfolio responsibility for CSIRO.

Perhaps it’s a case of plus ça change however there are some developments, shifts and observations on 2017 that are worth considering.

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CSIRO Business Infrastructure Services review gathers pace

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An Executive Team review into the functionality of CSIRO Business Infrastructure Services (CBIS) is gathering pace with the release of an Ernst & Young report (EY) that could herald a major shakeup for the unit’s staff, structure and operations.

The review is operating in parallel to an internal investigation – conducted by Chief Executive Larry Marshall and Chief Operating Officer Hazel Bennett – sparked by revelations that the Australian Federal Police are set to scrutinise fraud allegations surrounding former CBIS Director Mark Wallis (pictured).

Following the release of the EY report, CSIRO Executive has now moved into a second phase of consultation with CBIS staff involving a series of workshops around the country.

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Marshall champions CSIRO and Australian science at National Press Club

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Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall provided an upbeat assessment of CSIRO’s future in an assured and confident address to the National Press Club in Canberra, showcasing a range of the organisation’s research while announcing a break through in carbon fibre manufacturing.

In his first nationally televised address since taking the reins at CSIRO, Dr Marshall encouraged the audience to “come back to science, to feel optimistic about our future, and… get a glimpse of these ephemeral ‘jobs of the future’ we keep hearing about.”

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CSIRO Health, Safety and Environment unit set for overhaul

An early review report into CSIRO Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) strategy has generated debate with commentary suggesting that ‘significant divergences of perspectives… will have significant implications for what the future HSE model looks like.’

While the review –  conducted by external consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) – has yet to release final recommendations; the draft report has revealed a wide divergence of opinion regarding the future location, range, funding and ultimate responsibility for HSE delivery.

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