275 jobs cut by peak scientific body in Australia calling climate and ocean research into question
April 26, 2016
The CSIRO Research Vessel "Investigator"
Australia’s premier scientific research body CSIRO has today announced that 275 jobs will go including many scientists from the climate and oceans divisions. The announcement was made in an email to staff with CEO Larry Marshall also indicating that a new research unit creating 40 new jobs would be established in Hobart. The planned cutbacks has caught the attention of world wide media and the scientific community who have been critical of CSIRO’s CEO after claims he made in respect of climate change and then had to retract and clarify before a Senate Hearing. Many have said Australia’s research capability will be badly damaged when it comes to climate and ocean science.
Speaking to the ABC scientist Dave Griggs, the former Director of the Monash University Sustainability Institute and IPCC said: "While the retention of some of CSIRO's climate science capabilities is welcome, the level announced is analogous to trying to put a sticking plaster over a gaping wound," he said.
Steven Sherwood from the University of NSW Climate Research Centre, said the changes would reduce the organisation's ability to produce climate modelling.
"We depend on [CSIRO] to develop these models that are used to do Australian forecasting," he said.
"The fewer people you have, the less you can do.
"The new CSIRO centre will have only 40 scientists, compared to roughly 200 at the equivalent Hadley Centre in the UK, and much less than the 140 scientists previously working in the broader area at CSIRO."
Tasmanian Greens senator Nick McKim also believes the Government timed the research centre announcement to draw attention away from the job cuts and predicted scientists would leave.
"What we've had announced today is a reshuffling of the deck chairs, a re-badging of cuts, sleight of hand," he said.
"This is a hammer blow for all the important science that we are doing out of Hobart and around the country.
"There are already a tragic number of Hobart-based climate scientists applying for jobs in other parts of the country and in other parts around the world and I don't think they are going to change their minds because of the announcement today," Senator McKim said.
Independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie wants the job cuts reversed.
"It's time that the Federal Government understood that Hobart is a global centre of excellence in science and research and that is now genuinely at risk," Mr Wilkie said.
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