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October 04, 2019

Labor is concerned that the Morrison Government’s cap on public sector staffing numbers is hurting the CSIRO and undermining its role in advancing science and innovation.
The Government’s arbitrary staffing cap has seen jobs cut at the CSIRO, with others placed on insecure contracts and conditions.
The CSIRO staff association recently made a submission to a Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry outlining the impact of the 5,193 person cap on permanent staff on Australia’s scientific capability. The submission highlights reports of increased use of external contractors, which is putting a number of major projects at risk and is sidestepping secure local jobs.
Reports have revealed that staff recruitment has been placed on hold and outsourcing has increased to avoid the cap.
This is the institution that invented wifi, plastic bank notes and Aerogard, to name just a few. Research and innovation like this is under threat under the Morrison Government.
This comes at a time of an overall downward trend in R&D under this Government’s watch.
The latest Gross Expenditure in Research & Development (R&D) as a proportion of GDP decreased from 1.88 per cent to 1.79 per cent according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Business R&D spend has hit 0.9 per cent of GDP, falling below 1 per cent of GDP in the previous data (2015-16).

It also follows a motion passed at the Nationals’ Federal Council calling for a national science watchdog to oversee scientific papers, which Labor is concerned is an attempt by the Government to undermine the integrity of peer review with political intervention.

The Morrison Government has no regard for scientists and this staffing cap is simply a continuation of their war on science.