More climate scientists needed to avoid expensive mistakes, review urges

An overhaul of the nation’s climate research system has been recommended by Australia’s top scientists after a review found a critical lack of staff in key areas like climate modelling, writes ABC’s Jake Sturmer. 

For the Murray-Darling Basin — one of the nation’s most critical food-producing regions — that knowledge is crucial, according to the Australian Academy of Science.

The academy conducted a year-long review of the nation’s future capabilities, prompted by a major restructuring of climate teams at the CSIRO last year.

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CSIRO job cuts dispute ends… after 542 days

The industrial dispute to mitigate controversial CSIRO job cuts – first announced by Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall in February 2016 – is finally over, lasting a record-breaking 542 days.

CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski confirmed the end of the Fair Work Commission dispute on 31 July 2017.

“While the length of dispute is noteworthy, the ultimate outcome – the significant mitigation of cuts and many dozens of CSIRO jobs saved from the axe – is of greater significance,” Mr Popovski said.

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Spotlight on Data61 links to DHS

The steadily growing scrutiny of CSIRO’s Data61 and the Department of Human Services looks set to continue, with moves afoot in the Senate to examine the Federal Government’s multi-billion dollar spending on information technology.

Data61 and the Department of Human Services (DHS) have been mentioned several times in despatches since May’s Federal Budget where social services minister Christian Porter said the CSIRO’s data unit could be involved in a controversial plan to drug test welfare recipients.

Meanwhile, in response to questions on notice provided to the Senate this month, CSIRO revealed that Data61 had signed three short-term contracts with DHS since January 2016 amidst the spectacular implosion of Centrelink’s so-called Robo Debt program.

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