CSIRO scientists protest against science budget cuts


Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) scientists have 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.

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Picture: http://twitter.com/csironews

The budget cuts imposed by the Abbott Government in the new federal budget will see Australia’s premium science institution lose a quarter of its researchers, scientists and staff, which will severely cripple the organisation’s capacity to continue to deliver innovations in science and technology.

According to the article on ABC, about 100 CSIRO staff rallied outside the Black Mountain buildings waving signs that read “Cuts hurt”, “Don’t experiment with science” and “Advanced Australia where?”, as part of a series of national protests held at CSIRO sites across Australia.

Dr David Lovell, a CSIRO scientist who spoke at the rally, said he had already dismissed staff because of the job cuts.

“This is a giant leap backwards. I’ve had to say to staff, ‘we can’t keep you on’. I’ve had to say to staff, ‘we have to let you go’,” said Mr Lovell.

“Not because they’ve done a bad job – they’re doing a great job – and once the people go, you can’t get it back.”

CSIRO Staff Association acting secretary Dr Michael Borgas said the proposed job cuts were unprecedented.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that CSIRO faces a jobs crisis, we could be looking at the largest reduction in staffing at CSIRO in the organisation’s history,” he said.

“This number of 700 is made up of 420 jobs lost to direct government cuts and 280 jobs gone as a result of the organisational restructure and cuts to important support functions. The 700 is on top of 477 jobs already cut over the past twelve months, which includes the results of the Federal Government’s public sector recruitment freeze.”

According to the article on The International Business Times, some of the areas to be hit by the cuts include renewable energy, neuroscience, liquid fuels, colorectal cancer, carbon capture and storage, manufacturing research and information technology, with eight CSIRO sites across the country to close their research facilities as a result of the cuts.