Staff Association Response to the Federal Budget

The 2012-13 Federal Budget did not deliver any major surprises for CSIRO or science. The application of the Government’s so-called ‘efficiency dividend’ results in a cut of $23M over four years to CSIRO’s appropriation funding. As part of the Community and Public Sector Union, we are extremely concerned about the impact of the ‘efficiency dividend’ across the public sector, including on co-investment in CSIRO. See the media release from the CPSU here.

The ‘efficiency dividend’ in combination with projected falls in external revenue next year, is estimated to result in a reduction of 116 staff across CSIRO in 2012-13. The Staff Association met with Deputy CEO Craig Roy this morning, who indicated that CSIRO will endeavour to use natural attrition to manage the staffing reduction. The Staff Association is absolutely committed to keeping the number of involuntary redundancies in CSIRO to a minimum. We will work will members to ensure redundancy and redeployment processes are followed and all opportunities for voluntary redundancy substitution are identified.The Budget was positive in terms of boosting funding for maths and science education, which was highlighted in the media release from Science and Technology Australia (here). More details can be found in the portfolio budgets statements for the Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education portfolio (here).

Overall, the Federal Budget, as well as recent State Budgets, are missing opportunities to invest in Government science, not the least to ensure that Australia can support science careers, but also to generate industries and jobs for an innovation-based economy in the future. The Staff Association will continue to actively engage with all policymakers to emphasise this point.

Members should be aware that the allocation of revenue from the recent Wireless LAN patent case has not been determined as yet. Minister Evans has already indicated that the revenue will likely be split with Government, with the possible allocation of $110M to CSIRO. The Staff Association has previously released a statement on this matter (here).

Related links:

From ABC Online Budget: Science spared but concerns remain (Sam Popovski, CSIRO Staff Association quoted)

From The Conversation Efficiency tax will stifle scienctific work at CSIRO (Michael Borgas, CSIRO Staff Association quoted)

From The Canberra Times CSIRO pursues Acton precinct (Sam Popovski, CSIRO Staff Association quoted)

From ABC Radio National Maths and Science Education (Prof Ian Chubb, Australia’s Chief Scientist)

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