Staff at the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will launch a series of national protest meetings starting in regional Australia on Tuesday, in opposition to savage federal budget measures will cost hundreds of jobs, site closures and cuts to whole areas of research.
During last month’s budget, the Federal Government’s announced a $115 million funding cut to Australia’s premier scientific organisation, in addition to indirect measures that will affect CSIRO such as cuts to Cooperative Research Centres (CRC), the Australian Climate Change Science program and Department of Industry initiatives such as Industry Innovation Precincts.
CSIRO regional staff to protest Tuesday 24 June
Staff based in CSIRO regional sites will lead a national series of lunchtime protest meetings to voice their concerns at cuts to funding, jobs, research and site closures. Regional protest meetings will take place on Tuesday 24 June.
CSIRO regional sites that will host staff protest events on Tuesday include: the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong; the Geraldton radio astronomy hub in Western Australia; the Ecosystem Sciences Laboratory in Alice Springs; the Australian Tropical Sciences and Innovation Precinct in Townsville and the Atherton Laboratory, CSIRO’s Energy Centre in Newcastle and the NSW Riverina’s Griffith Laboratory, one of the CSIRO sites earmarked for closure.
CSIRO facing cuts crisis
Staff Association Acting Secretary Dr Michael Borgas said the numbers of CSIRO jobs already gone and those still forecast to go represented an unprecedented situation.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that CSIRO faces a jobs crisis, we could be looking at the largest reduction in staffing at CSIRO in the organsisation’s history. The CSIRO faces a cut of 700 staff in the coming year of 2014-15. This number of 700 is made up of 420 jobs lost to direct government cuts and 280 jobs gone as a result of the organizational restructure and cuts to important support functions.
“The 700 is on top of 477 jobs already cut over the past twelve months, which includes the results of the federal government’s public sector recruitment freeze. And the cuts are set to continue. Management forecast that Government cuts will cost another 80 in the year 2015/16. “Add it all up and we’re talking about a 19% cut to CSIRO’s workforce in only two years,” Dr Borgas said.
Research areas to be hit include: neuroscience and colorectal cancer; Geothermal research, carbon capture and storage and liquid fuels; manufacturing research including bioscience, nanoscience, device engineering and systems, and high performance metal industries; urban water; terrestrial biodiversity; Marine biodiversity, marine habitat mapping; and Radio Astronomy.
Metropolitan CSIRO staff to protest Thursday 26 June
Following the lead of their country colleagues, CSIRO staff based in capital cities will gather at major metropolitan sites for lunchtime protest meetings on Thursday 26 June.
Protest events will be held at Clayton (Melbourne), Battery Point (Hobart), Waite Campus (Adelaide), Waterford (Perth), Pullenvale (Brisbane), North Ryde (Sydney) and Black Mountain (Canberra).
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