QLD says CSIRO should be kept strong
The Queensland Government has launched a surprising attack on job cuts at the CSIRO imposed by the Federal Government.
The Palaszczuk Government has used its official media channels to claim the CSIRO cuts will turn Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ideas boom into gloom.
“The Turnbull Government is failing Queensland by refusing to guarantee job cuts at the CSIRO won’t impact on research into the effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef,” according to a joint statement by Queensland’s Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles, and Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business Leeanne Enoch.
Responding to a letter sent by Science Minister Leeanne Enoch, Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Christopher Pyne refused to guarantee joint programs into the effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef would continue amidst 350 job cuts at the CSIRO.
Ms Enoch said footage released by the Queensland Government last week showing a disturbing level of coral bleaching underlined how critical continued research on the Great Barrier Reef remained.
“I asked Minister Pyne to commit to continuing this important research and he failed to do so,” Ms Enoch said.
“The Great Barrier Reef is not only one of the great natural wonders of the world but a huge tourism drawcard for not just Queensland but Australia.
“The Reef generates an estimated $6 billion for the Australian economy and supports 69,000 jobs.
“So, I’m once again calling on Minister Pyne to guarantee to the people of Australia that he won’t stand by and let vital research for this jewel in our crown to be cut.”
Queensland partners with the CSIRO extensively on issues of climate change and particularly its effects on the Great Barrier Reef.
CSIRO scientists play important roles on the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce – a body set up to save the reef – and other advisory bodies which provide key modelling and advice on the health of the reef.
Mr Miles said the withdrawal of resources from climate sciences at the CSIRO would hurt farmers as well as the environment.
“When it comes to protecting the reef, climate and water quality sciences are the most important things,” Dr Miles said.
“But they are being targeted by the Prime Minister’s cuts.
“The withdrawal of CSIRO from climate science reduces the level of confidence and certainty around the Australian Government’s commitment to securing the future of the beef industry in regards to climate change adaptation, and the Reef in regards to nutrient and soil management.”
The most recent job cuts at the CSIRO come on top of the 1400 jobs which have been cut from the organisation since the current federal government came to power in 2013.
Ms Enoch said the Great Barrier Reef was not the only thing being put at risk by gutting the nation’s premier scientific research institution.
“If we are aspiring to be one of the world’s leading innovators, we must have scientists, entrepreneurs and startups working collaboratively to deliver tangible outcomes for Australia,” she said.
“But the Federal Government is sending the wrong message internationally that Australia is not a country that values scientific excellence.”