Federal opposition slams CSIRO for pre-empting the commission of audit and slashing hundreds of jobs


The Federal Opposition has slammed the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) for pre-empting the Government’s commission of audit and cutting hundreds of jobs from the scientific research agency before the May budget was adopted.

Image credit: flickr User: Creative Services ACT
Image credit: flickr User: Creative Services ACT

According to the article on ABC, Labour’s science spokesman, Kim Carr, said the CSIRO management acted on the “political signals” from the Commission and was wrong to cut 300 jobs before the budget was handed down in May.

“My understanding is that they’re responding to political signals from the audit commission,” Senator Carr told the ABC’s Capital Hill.

“My understanding is that the CSIRO management takes the view that they’re preparing for these changes. I think it’s incredibly short-sighted by the CSIRO management to undertake these sorts of discussions at this point, because frankly the CSIRO can’t afford to have these sorts of cuts.”

The latest cut of 300 jobs brings the total number of layoffs at CSIRO to 700 in the last financial year alone. These layoffs came ahead of the anticipated funding cuts in the May budget, which the Government said will affect all Australians.

A spokesperson for Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, refused to comment on the speculations about future cuts to the CSIRO’s funding but said the budget was going to be “tough” and “fair” for everyone.

“Management of day-to-day matters, including staffing, are an issue for the CSIRO,” the spokesperson said.

CSIRO’s Chairman Simon McKeon said he did not know whether there will be cuts in funding for the Organisation, but warned the Government against cutting science research because the private sector’s investment in R&D was small compared to other countries.

“We simply don’t know. We’re not unfortunately a country that has a private sector that invests enough in research and development,” he told the ABC.

“Accordingly, we’ve had decades and decades where an organisation like CSIRO has, if you like, filled the gap to a fairly significant extent. So the Government knows we’re very keen to minimise any cuts.”