By Julian Bajkowski
Australia’s scientific peak scientific research organisation and its staff association is playing a straight bat to reports that it could be gutted and lose up to a quarter of its staff under public service staff cuts that aim to cull 12,000 positions without redundancies.
As a public service hiring freeze enforced by the Australian Public Service Commission starts to bite, agencies, organisations and departments with higher ratios of ‘non-ongoing’ roles in their ranks are emerging as the most vulnerable and exposed because of slowing rates of natural attrition like retirements or moves to the private sector.
Fairfax Media has reported that as many as 1,400 CSIRO jobs could be on the block as the scientist’s staff association attempts to flush out the intentions of senior management and senior ministers in terms of where there will be flexibility.
The CSIRO staff association on Thursday was seeking formal answers from senior management on what the freeze means for ‘non-ongoing’ staff after the scientific body’s chief executive Megan Clark told everyone in the organisation of “an immediate recruitment freeze” that covered “external recruitment and entering into any new or extending existing term or contract employment arrangements.”
The ugly job loss figure also set to cast a pall over the announcement by Education Minister Christopher Pyne of “funding outcomes for more than $522 million in Australian Government research funding administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC) in Adelaide on Friday morning.
Parts of the Coalition have had a testy relationship with the broader scientific community over the issue of climate change and global warming and its impacts on the community.
It has been widely anticipated that the government will move to curtail the generation of research and data it feels is ideologically opposed or has been left behind to undermine its broader policy position.
A key message on the order of the Abbott government’s portfolio priorities was sent through the announcement of ministers and their ministries.
The restructure chopped the word ‘Science’ out of what used to be the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) and sent it to the plainer and simpler Department of Industry.
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