A total of 75 jobs will be cut at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) – Australia’s leading research agency.
Future manufacturing research will be hit the hardest, with a total of 45 retrenchments announced. Researchers from the agriculture and digital productivity programs will also lose their jobs.
Digital productivity will lose 25 jobs. Earlier this year, 41 jobs were cut from the same program, reports The Age.
With the 6 jobs to be axed now, agriculture will lose a total of 42 jobs this year.
Future manufacturing research, agriculture and digital productivity are part of CSIRO’s flagship “impact science” division.
“We were hopeful the cuts would be smaller this time because CSIRO management has essentially been trying to find sources of funding from industry to support jobs, particularly in the manufacturing area. Unfortunately that hasn’t come to fruition,” said Association secretary Sam Popovski.
“Most Australians would expect that research that supports innovation and jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and the digital economy should be increased, not cut. So, I think that in addition to affected staff and their CSIRO colleagues, the wider community is entitled to feel dismayed at these cuts to Australia’s future.”
Most of the job losses will be in Victoria and New South Wales.
The cuts come less than a month after the Federal Government released an industrial policy outlining five priority areas, including advanced manufacturing and agriculture.
“I feel the industry policy is not being treated seriously enough by the government given the urgent situation at the CSIRO,” said Mr Popovski.
“These types of job cuts are cutting into the core research of the organisation. This means the loss of specialised skills.”
According to ABC, the latest job losses will take the total number of jobs cut at the organisation in the current financial year to 800.
“We’re expecting no additional announcements of job cuts from CSIRO and we are expecting the 800 jobs that have been forecast to go, and that will mean CSIRO has lost one in five jobs over the last two financial years,” Mr Popovski said.
An article on The Guardian reveals that a spokesman for the CSIRO denied the jobs lost in the three programs were “new cuts”.
“They are part of the restructure which was announced some months ago and are not over and above what the Staff Association and CSIRO staff already knew,” he said.
Earlier this year, CSIRO scientists staged a series of national protests in cities across Australia to express their anger at the Abbott Government’s plan to cut $115 million from the science body.