Marshall plan to cut hundreds of CSIRO jobs during election campaign

thinking larry flippedMore detail has been released regarding Chief Executive Larry Marshall’s controversial plan to cut hundreds of jobs from CSIRO with no Australian state or territory spared from the cuts.

Management documents outlining Dr Marshall’s proposal emerges as the country readies for a Federal Election where the major parties have identified the contribution of science and research to economic and public benefits.

  • Link to documents below

The documents predict some 317 redundancies with a staggering 441 staff affected across six business units.

However total proposed redundancies could reach as high as 370 with the inclusion of Data61 (25) and Research Support (comprised of 21 finance / project support positions and 7 jobs from Victoria’s Clayton laboratories).

CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said the proposed cuts should be stopped immediately.

Marshall refuses to listen

“The full extent of Dr Marshall’s damaging plan is starting to emerge. If allowed to continue, Australia’s research effort in key industries will be diminished and science jobs will be lost around the country.

“Both Treasurer Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten mentioned CSIRO by name as they outlined their plans for the Australian economy this budget week.

“It’s obvious that Dr Marshall and CSIRO Executives are out of touch and have stopped listening to politicians, the public and scientific community.”

Fight for jobs not over

Mr Popovski said the Staff Association will continue to campaign against the proposed cuts at CSIRO, stressing that several legal, industrial and political options remain at the union’s disposal.

“The fight for CSIRO jobs is far from over,” Mr Popovski said. “We’ll examine these documents before considering next steps which may include an escalation of our legal strategy to stop these short-sighted cuts.”

Oceans and Atmosphere

The Oceans and Atmosphere science unit is facing up to 74 job losses that are set to impact across a staggering array of research programs and projects. Affected areas include; the measurement and sample collection of paleo greenhouse gas emission, observation and modelling of air quality, analysis of climate variability, extreme weather and climate services, generalist marine ecology and much more.

Job losses will be felt hardest in Melbourne (32), Canberra (14), and Tasmania (12) with more positions to go from SE Queensland, Northern Australia and Western Australia.

Land and Water

Documents show that up to 85 jobs at the Land and Water science unit are potentially affected with 67 FTE positions due to be shed. Research areas at threat include; biodiversity, organismal ecology, restoration ecology and landscape management, routine chemical analysis and analytical services, urban water and systems research, behavioural, political and social science advice and consultancy, and soil archive and sample maintenance.

Brisbane (21) may bear the brunt of cuts followed by Canberra (17) Melbourne and Tasmania (18), Adelaide (13), Perth (8) and Northern Australia (8).


Up to 128 Manufacturing staff are anticipated to be impacted, with 42 predicted to be made redundant. There will be a review of science effort across chemistry, biology, materials science and engineering research.

Redundancies in Manufacturing are expected to hit hardest in Victoria; with 26 jobs set to go from Melbourne’s Clayton laboratories and another 10 from Geelong. Syndey is expected to lose 7 positions.


63 Agriculture staff are expected to be affected resulting in 26 redundancies across six sites. Research capability across the organisation looks likely to be affected across the board with the science unit opting to increase workloads while cutting staff.

Job losses will be largest in Brisbane (10), followed by Canberra (10), other sites (7) and Armidale (2).


The Minerals science unit will cull around 40 positions, comprising of 33 redundancies with a number of term positions not set for renewal.

Cuts will affect process science and engineering capabilities, exploration geoscience, online analysis, and control and resource characterisation capabilities.

Exact numbers on the location of redundancies are not yet known but it is anticipated that Perth will be heavily targeted, followed by Melbourne.

Food and Nutrition

20 staff from CSIRO Food and Nutrition will be cut. There will be a reduction of research in areas such as small animal models of human health and broader food safety capability in favour of industry-led research.

Sydney (10-11) will lose most followed by South Australia (8).

Finance and Project Support

CSIRO also plan to cut 21 positions from Finance and Project support; mainly administrative and project support for researchers. Exact location details are still to be determined.

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5 thoughts on “Marshall plan to cut hundreds of CSIRO jobs during election campaign

  1. Because of the way the restructure is being done with Business Units making decisions in isolation whole capability areas could disappear out of the organisation – and it might not become clear until it is too late – there must be much better consultation and much greater oversight. From what is evident so far the justifications are flawed and the consequences significant to not just our members or CSIRO, but Australian science

    • Thank you for providing this info. Previous to this webpage I had no idea of the depth and range of redundancies. Without calling my colleagues individually and asking, I have no idea of the “potentially impacted” areas of CSIRO. It shocks me to see other areas with which I have collaborated with over the past 10 years on the block too.

  2. I am in the workshop at Clayton and we have been told that all machining capabilities are to go outside which means we are going to go from 20 down to 6, The reason, and I quote as per Steve Edwards, it is time for the groups to grow up and organise themselves better as the maintenance on the machines is too expensive. They are keeping only managers and there will be no one to look after the scientists. We bring in over 3 million a year but we do not meet the 100% cost recovery they wanted us to achieve which means that we fall short roughly 500 thousand a year but under the new scheme the cost will remain the same. We have been floundering for the last 8 years as we have had no manager input into what direction we should take to meet our shortfall. And I am on record as saying that all the managers we have had are useless and incompetent. I personally want a package to get away from such a disorganised organisation but it is a pitty that no one is going to be held accountable for such a deliberate miss use of power to get rid of the workshop. If stupidity and incompetence was an award that was handed out every year our management would have held it easily for the last 8 years.

    • Hmmm if they have to outsource the work I don’t think it complies with Fair Work Australia on what is a genuine redundancy, see below
      Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), a redundancy is genuine when:
      the employee is dismissed because the employer no longer wants anyone to do the job, due to changed operational requirements; the employer has complied with any consultation requirements in an applicable enterprise agreement or modern award; and it was not reasonable (in all the circumstances) for the employer to redeploy the employee within their own enterprise or that of an associated entity.

  3. When the last election came around, Megan Clarke said we were in “maintenance” mode (or whatever that was called – meaning no decisions would be made/acted on until the new government was in office). The way that was worded back then lead me to believe that was not her choice, but a mandate. If so, Larry would be subject to the same rule. Is he in breach of this by not immediately ceasing all of his activities?


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