The Federal Government has announced that Dr Megan Clark’s term as CSIRO Chief Executive will be extended by twelve months.
The announcement confirms a decision taken by the CSIRO Board to extend Dr Clark’s leadership beyond the expiry of the current five year term, due to run out in December.
According to the office of Science and Research Minister Don Farrell, the reappointment will provide CSIRO with “ongoing stability in senior governance while it conducts an international search for her eventual replacement.”
CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said Dr Clark faced significant challenges over the next eighteen months.
“Dr Clark has her work cut out for her. These are not easy times for CSIRO.
“Funding and revenue pressures are resulting in significant cuts to jobs, research and operations. Dr Clark’s job may be secure but hundreds of CSIRO employees face an uncertain future,” he said.
Mr Popovski said that a sustainable funding model for CSIRO remained elusive.
“For over two decades, government science in Australia has lacked growth funding. This has seen real declines in science capability in many agencies and departments, increased outsourced work and Australian science careers cut short.”
“That model is broken and it’s time for an update. Dr Clark must shift from advocating maintenance to championing science investment,” he said.
The looming Federal Election and the election of a Liberal Government could spell major problems for CSIRO, Mr Popovski warned.
“The Institute of Public Affairs has called for an incoming Coalition Government to sell off the CSIRO.
“We know that the IPA is very cosy with the current Opposition and their backers.
“What is Dr Clark’s plan to protect to protect CSIRO from being privatised if Tony Abbott gets the keys to The Lodge in September?” Mr Popovski asked.