The prospects for the introduction of a CSIRO staff-elected director received a boost with recent changes to Labor’s platform supporting the initiative. Meanwhile the Coalition Government has foreshadowed an effective cut to Australian research – via indexation to block grant programs – worth more than $300 million.
During the party’s national conference held in Adelaide, Labor made changes to the economic chapter of the platform, supporting “the establishment of a staff-elected position on the CSIRO Board.”
CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski welcomed Labor’s willingness to engage with the staff-elected director concept.
The Ruby Payne-Scott award – named after a CSIRO trailblazer who had her scientific career cut tragically short – is designed to support CSIRO women returning to the workplace following extended parental leave.
Jodie Hayward from CSIRO Darwin is one of the 2018 recipients. Jodie joined CSIRO Darwin’s Berrimah Laboratory in 2010 and works in research projects providing technical support to the Land and Water team performing invertebrate research. In 2017 Jodie spent close to ten months on maternity leave caring for a newborn son.
While on leave Jodie made an application for the Ruby Payne-Scott award outlining a development plan proposal to reconnect with her research work, skill development and professional networks.
The Change the Rules campaign – focused on overhauling Australia’s workplace laws and building a fairer system – has picked up pace in CSIRO with the launch of a Staff Association initiative set to run until early 2019.
With a federal election approaching that will feature wages, conditions and workplace rights as a key battleground, a recent series of national Change the Rules rallies drew hundreds of thousands of union members and supporters into the streets of Australia’s capital cities and regional centres.
Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said that CSIRO staff across the country would be asked to commit to supporting the Change the Rules campaign.
A Bureau of Meteorology plan to centralise all weather forecasting in Melbourne and Brisbane within two years has ignited fears that regional communities will bear the brunt of job cuts and a loss of local expertise.
The radical plan is the brainchild of Bureau Chief Executive Dr Andrew Johnson, the former head of CSIRO’s now-defunct Sustainable Ecosystems division, whose tenure coincided with significant cuts to regional science.
Two important meetings were held in December to wrap up a big year for Staff Association members. The Consultative Council meeting between Executive and union representatives followed the Staff Association’s Annual General Meeting at CSIRO’s Waite Campus in Adelaide.
CSIRO Consultative Council is the biannual formal meeting between CSIRO Executive and Staff Association representatives.