A Shorten Labor Government will restore CSIRO’s capacity to drive the national science, research and innovation agenda that will grow new industries and build a smarter Australia.
The Liberals ripped $115 million out of CSIRO in the horror 2014 Budget. One in five CSIRO scientists lost their jobs as a result.
Further job cuts are underway right now across the organisation. These will decimate our national research capacity in critical areas like climate science, manufacturing and food security.
Labor knows Australia cannot be an innovation nation while ripping the heart out of CSIRO.
We will act to end the uncertainty and restore funding and confidence to this great Australian institution.
A Shorten Labor Government will invest $250 million in CSIRO to reverse the Liberals’ cuts and ensure the future of key national scientific infrastructure like ‘The Dish’ at Parkes and the RV Investigator.
This is in addition to the $50 million Labor has already committed to CSIRO for climate and reef science to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
CSIRO and its predecessors have spent the past 100 years building a global reputation for excellence in both basic and applied research.
The organisation has an outstanding record of achievement – from the invention of Aerogard and polymer banknotes, to world-renowned environmental science, the development of 100 varieties of cotton and the invention of Wi-Fi.
But instead of this being a year of celebration, Australian scientists are fighting the latest round of short-sighted job cuts that are putting CSIRO’s international reputation at risk.
These job losses are a direct result of the Liberals’ cuts to climate science and the $17 million a year it has ripped from information and communication and technology research on Malcolm Turnbull’s watch.
As well as restoring core funding, Labor is committed to fully funding Australia’s only blue water research vessel, the RV Investigator, allowing it to be used for 300 days of research voyages a year.
Thanks to the Liberals’ $3 billion cut to science, research and innovation, the RV Investigator is currently spending 120 days a year in the dock in Hobart, when it could be at sea doing critical research to support our marine economy and environment.
Labor’s commitment will also allow CSIRO to continue to manage iconic telescopes at Parkes and Narrabri, which are currently facing the prospect of closure thanks to Christopher Pyne’s supposed “fix” for research.
In addition to rebuilding and protecting CSIRO’s research capacity, Labor will immediately move to halt any further job cuts and commission an independent review of CSIRO’s corporate structure, management and functions.
This is needed to ensure CSIRO’s work continues to be aligned with the national interest and is not unduly influenced by the political whims of any government.
After more than two years, it is clear that the hallmarks of the Liberals’ innovation agenda are cuts to funding, cuts to scientific infrastructure, cuts to science jobs and the largest brain drain in Australia’s history.
In contrast, Labor has a strong plan for science and innovation that will help build the industries of the future and create more jobs.
Today’s investment in CSIRO is a key part of that plan. Only Labor can be trusted to restore CSIRO to its place as a world leader in public good research that makes Australia smarter and fairer.
SUNDAY, 12 JUNE 2016