CSIRO cuts will impact Australia’s ability to combat deadly bushfires: staff

CSIRO cuts will impact Australia’s ability to combat deadly bushfires: staff

08 November 2013

published by www.smh.com.au

Australia — Job cuts at Australia’s frontline science agency will hurt the nation’s ability to combat the threat of deadly bushfires, according to CSIRO staff.

The jobs of up to 1400 scientists and researchers at the organisation are on the line under a hiring freeze imposed on the public service imposed by the Abbott government.

The CSIRO Staff Association said on Thursday that the cuts will impact Australia’s ability to undertake cutting edge science that improved the everyday lives of millions of Australians.

CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski, said that the job losses would impact a range of life-saving research and science that improve the everyday lives of millions of Australians.

“Recent examples of CSIRO innovation are as diverse as Australia itself – from new software to more accurately predict the spread of bushfires to a new process enabling three-dimensional printing of customised shoes for racehorses,” Mr Popovski said.

“Our smartphones are powered by Wi-Fi technology pioneered by CSIRO.

“Even our plastic banknotes – that’s polymer currency, another CSIRO innovation.

“How can CSIRO develop the next generation of Australian innovation if their capacity to conduct research and development continues to be cut?”

CSIRO staff leaders fronted their bosses on Thursday, demanding answers on the fate of more than 1400 “non-ongoing” workers at the organization

But the staff association says it has not been given answers.

“Management have been unable – or unwilling – to say how long this interim recruitment freeze will apply,” Mr Popovski said.

“Many CSIRO employees face a bleak future as term contracts approach their conclusion.

“We’re calling on management to end the uncertainty and clarify the length of the restriction and how many employees will be affected.”

Staff were told last week of the freeze which will hit the organisation’s 11 research divisions and 11 national research flagships, critical support and frontline scientists.

The staff freeze threatens to paralyse some of the organisation’s premier research projects, with a ban on hiring, extending or renewing contracts effective immediately.

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