In response to many and sustained requests from the Staff Association over the past twelve months, CSIRO management have started to reveal the details of the organisation’s future property strategy.
Last year’s Commission of Audit found that “In addition to budgeted repairs, an additional $175 million in maintenance expenditure is needed over the next ten years to maintain CSIRO properties to meet external compliance requirements and certification standards.”
Heavy cuts to funding and research fuelled speculation that CSIRO management might close or consolidate more workplaces in addition to the eight site identified in last year’s Annual Directions Statement.
In a recent meeting with Staff Association representatives, CSIRO management provided information and cautious reassurance regarding a number of properties which had been facing an uncertain future.
No Change to sites. Battery Point and Sandy Bay to remain.
No change with the possible exception of Floreat where options are being considered for possible flagship collaboration or co-location with the University of Western Australia. This could mean a change for some flagships over time but discussions are at early stage.
Possible future “splitting” of the Floreat site with option of selling part of site to fund redevelopment of the rest.
No Change. Current sites (Waite, Kintore Ave and SAHMRI) to remain.
No Change. Darwin and Alice Springs to remain. Separate meeting being organised to consider impact of release of Northern Australia strategy.
Current position is of no change. The impact of the recently released Northern Australia strategy on Townsville, Cairns and Atherton – as well as Darwin and Alice Springs – is still to be determined.
Herston is currently on an extended lease but there may be a move to Dutton Park at lease expiration depending on a range of factors.
Other Southern Queensland sites – such as Pullenvale, Dutton Park, St Lucia, Coopers Plains, Gatton, Toowoomba and Bribie Island – to remain unchanged at this stage.
New South Wales
The future of several Sydney workplaces remain uncertain. There is consideration consolidating some or all of the Sydney sites but how and where this may occur will depend on a range of factors.
The NICTA site in Redfern is being sold and management have stated this may provide opportunity to relocate some Sydney staff there. The lease at North Ryde expires in December 2021 and occupation past that date is proving problematic, with the property owners exploring options to redevelop the site into a residential precinct.
Greater co-location and collaboration with Chiswick staff and the University of New England to greater utilise total facilities across both sites. The offices at UNE were constructed with CSIRO money and funded by the sale of the Arding farm.
The Griffith laboratory will close next year. Three staff to be transferred to a newly leased worksite in nearby Yanco.
No change to Narrabri (Culgoora) and Parkes however both sites are dependent on securing ongoing funding; including NCRIS funding which has been guaranteed for a further two years. A number of reviews of Astronomy currently being conducted may impact.
No changes to either the Newcastle or Myall Vale sites.
The Highett laboratory will close in September, with all staff relocated to Clayton. The Highett site will go to market next year and the proceeds from the sale will be used to upgrade and redevelop both Clayton and Geelong’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory – the latter which is due for a forty year upgrade expected to cost tens of millions.
Plans remain to relocate all staff at Aspendale to to Clayton in 2023.
No changes to Parkville, Irymple, Wodonga or Waurn Ponds.
Werribee remains unchanged. Management have confirmed that CSIRO purchased this site last year as part of their commitment to a “food growth centre”.
Australian Capital Territory
Consolidation into Black Mountain will result in the closure of Campbell, Crace, Yarralumla and Acton over the next five years. The development of appropriate accommodation standards at the redeveloped Black Mountain site continues to prove contentious.
Ginninderra and Tidbinbilla to remain unchanged.
- CSIRO Property Plan principles and map – Management document