The upcoming Federal Election is shaping up as another close contest.
Research and innovation are likely to feature as the economic debate focuses on the challenges facing the Australian economy as we descend from investment peak of the minerals and resources sector.
Staff Association President Dr Michael Borgas said that it would be an important election for CSIRO.
“Experience tells us that as the economic landscape shifts, CSIRO too will change to respond to the challenges of the new environment.
“To make an informed choice at the ballot box, CSIRO employees will have to closely scrutinise the science and research policy offerings from the major parties and independents.
“The Staff Association aims to assist this process by engaging politicians and seeking their views on the big issues facing CSIRO,” he said.
Dr Borgas called on Staff Association members get involved online and help kick-start the policy discussion.
“We’ve come up with five science policy priorities for the Federal election. The request to Staff Association members is simple. We want to know what you think.
“Read the science policy priorities, vote in our online poll and join the debate by posting a comment on the website or by sending an email.
Have your say
- Do you support the science policy priorities – vote in our snap poll below
- Tell us what you think – post a comment below or send an email
“Your involvement will help drive the next phase of the process as we formally communicate the priorities with the Minister, Shadow Minister and other politicians with specific responsibilities for science and research.
“We’ll also use your feedback on the science priorities to develop a list of electorates from around the country to better target our engagement with local candidates,” Dr Borgas said.
1. Growth funding in the next Quadrennial Funding Agreement for CSIRO
The Staff Association calls on political parties and candidates to support an increase to CSIRO’s funding, in real terms to help drive Australia’s innovation and productivity agenda.
The recent cuts to jobs, research and operations at CSIRO highlight the vital need for funding certainty and stability in the next Quadrennial Funding Agreement.
To develop the next generation of Australian innovation, CSIRO requires an investment injection – not just funding maintenance.
2. No privatisation or break up of CSIRO or outsourcing of research or support functions
Australians cherish CSIRO not only as a national icon but priceless public asset held in trust for future generations.
The CSIRO must never be privatised or broken up and sold into private hands.
The organisation must also be protected against privatisation by stealth, through the outsourcing of research or support functions.
CSIRO is Australia’s premier scientific research institution – and no function, service or capability of the organisation should ever be offshored to foreign-based providers.
3. Implementing consistent science integrity principles in CSIRO and the Federal Public Sector
Science, innovation and research are fundamental to the economic, environmental and social needs and aspirations of the Australian community.
The federal public sector is trusted to discover, apply and communicate science in a frank and fearless manner, without political or commercial interference. Science integrity ensures that the best research outcomes are achieved and that scientific advice is independent and verifiable.
Australia needs a Science Integrity Charter for CSIRO and the whole Federal Public Sector – to establish clear, consistent principles for organisations and staff involved in science, research and innovation.
4. Investing in research capability and infrastructure for industry innovation precincts
Diversifying the Australian economy in the post-resources boom period will require careful and sustained investment.
CSIRO’s expertise – especially in potential growth industries such as agriculture, food production, health and nutrition and advanced manufacturing – makes it a vital national asset when it comes to improving Australia’s productivity.
The establishment of Industry Innovation Precinct’s must build research capability and infrastructure to capitalise on CSIRO’s track record as the nation’s hub for collaborative, multidisciplinary research.
5. Guaranteeing no closure of any CSIRO regional site and supporting regional science
CSIRO has a large regional workforce, with hundreds of researchers and support staff located at dozens of sites across Australia, often working closely with industry organisations and local universities.
These regional laboratories make an important contribution – not only in terms of scientific research – but to the communities they are connected to and the productivity of regional industries.
Australia’s regions will form the backdrop to some of the most exciting and important research ever conducted in our history –from deep space astronomy to next generation food production. CSIROs’ regional laboratories must remain vibrant, well resourced and with a secure future.