A twenty per cent cut to the workforce over two years. Vital and important research shut down completely. Multiple site closures, regional science hanging by a thread.
These are some of the stark realities the CSIRO Staff Association will directly convey to federal politicians – including Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane – later this month in a series of meetings with representatives from across the spectrum.
The lobbying effort comes ahead of a Senate Inquiry into Australia’s innovation system, which is expected to hold a number of public hearings into the state of science and research before the end of the year.
In a joint submission with CSPU, the Staff Association argues that public laboratories such as CSIRO and other publicly funded research agencies deliver critically important science in service of the national interest across a wide range of research areas.
However the Federal Budget has delivered drastic cuts to science funding; resulting in heavy job losses, cuts to research and a decline in Australia’s overall science capability and capacity to innovate. The submission contends that funding for publicly funded research agencies should increase overall and grow at least in proportion to overall national economic activity.
The submission also supports the development of a strategic approach to science policy as advocated by Australia’s Chief Scientist Ian Chubb.
Meetings in Canberra
CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski and President Dr Michael Borgas will meet with the following politicians in Canberra later this month:
- Ian Macfarlane – Industry Minister, holds portfolio responsibility for CSIRO
- Kim Carr – Australia’s ‘last’ Minister for Science, Labor Senator for Victoria
- Nick Xenophon – Independent, senate crossbench
- Richard Di Natale – Greens’ Senator, former GP
- Warren Entsch – LNP member for Leichhardt leading the Northern Australia White Paper process
- John Madigan – Independent, senate cross bench
- Phil Collins – Chief of Staff for Clive Palmer, leader of the Palmer United Party
- Sharon Claydon – Labor member for Newcastle
- Warren Snowden – Labor member for Lingiari, former minister for Defence Science and Personnel
- Dr Andrew Southcott – Liberal member for Boothby, home to Adelaide’s Waite Campus
- Karen Andrews – Liberal MP and convenor of Parliamentary Friends of Science
- Gai Brodtmann – Labor member for Canberra
- Sam Dastyari – Labor Senator for NSW, chair of the committee conducting the innovation inquiry
- Terri Butler – Labor member for the Queensland seat of Griffith, home to QBP / St Lucia
- Bill Heffernan – Liberal Senator for New South Wales
- Ian Macdonald – LNP Senator for Queensland, former Minister for Forestry and Conservation
- John Williams – Senator from New South Wales for The Nationals, duty area includes Armidale and New England
The Staff Association has met with several federal politicians from Tasmania in Hobart recently. Arrangements are being made to meet with selected Western Australian politician in Perth during October.