First Turnbull Ministry gives nod to science but support for CSIRO still lacking

Malcolm_Turnbull_minThe announcement of the first Ministry under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has profiled the role of science, research and innovation in Australia’s future.

However funding to public sector science agencies is still lacking, the union representing workers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) stated.

CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski noted the profile on science and innovation but urged the Government to move quickly to repair funding to the CSIRO, following last year’s record $115 million budget cut to the nation’s premier research organisation.

Science and the economic agenda

“The Prime Minister’s comments on the role that science and research can play in creating jobs and increasing competitive advantages for the Australian economy are encouraging and echo the arguments that the CSIRO Staff Association and Community and Public Sector Union made to the Senate’s Innovation Inquiry,” Mr Popovski said.

“However unless we see an increase in the Government’s funding to public science agencies such as the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology; Australia’s capacity to create the new jobs of the future will continue to decline,” Mr Popovski warned.

New Ministerial team

The new Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science is Christopher Pyne MP, with Assistant Ministers Karen Andrews MP (Science) and Wyatt Roy MP (Innovation) completing the portfolio line up.

“We look forward engaging with Minister Pyne and acknowledge his statement which recognises that Australian industry must continue to lead the world in research and innovation,” Mr Popovski said.

Senator Arthur Sinodinos returns to the senior ministry as Cabinet Secretary.

“The Staff Association met with Senator Sinodinos earlier this year to discuss the challenges facing Australia’s public science agencies. We hope the new Cabinet can be significantly more supportive of science,” Mr Popovski said.

Mr Popovski also acknowledged outgoing Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane’s professional engagement with the Staff Association.

Update: The Staff Association wrote to Minister Pyne  on 25th September requesting a meeting. A copy of this letter can be viewed here. A response from the Minister’s office was received on Sunday the 27th September, and can be viewed here.

Challenges for political representatives

“Over a two year period, CSIRO has lost funding for 1,300 positions, or one in five jobs. The Staff Association urges the Government to repair the damage of the recent $115 million funding cut to CSIRO and help restore morale and confidence within the organisation,” Mr Popovski said.

“We encourage all federal representatives to develop a truly comprehensive approach to science and research and make a significant investment in Australia’s future,” Mr Popovski said.

Media queries

To arrange an interview with Sam Popovski please email anthony.keenan@cpsu.org.au or call 0410 330 764.

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