ABBOTT’S CUTS LEAD CSIRO TO SELL THE FARM – LITERALLY
Australia’s premier research agency has been forced to turn property developer to make up for the Abbott Government’s deep funding cuts.
Today, the CSIRO announced it is seeking approval to re-develop a major tract of land in Canberra that has previously been used for agricultural research.
The agency has asked the National Capital Authority to re-zone the Ginninderra Field Station Site on the Barton Highway as 'Urban Area' in the next amendment to the National Capital Plan, due out next year. This would allow CSIRO to sell or build on the site for commercial development.
CSIRO would not need to sell off its assets if the Abbott Government hadn’t slashed $115 million from its funding in the 2014 Budget.
The agency has lost 1,200 science and support staff in the last two years – the largest job cuts in the organisation’s history.
It has also closed or merged several of its research sites, including eliminating a world-class irrigation research team at Griffith in NSW and consolidating sites in Canberra.
Australia spends less on scientific research than the OECD average.
The Abbott Government is stuck in the past and its cuts have seen Federal Government investment in knowledge and innovation slip to its lowest level in 30 years.
This is incredibly short-sighted at a time when Australia needs more innovation to drive growth and create the jobs of the future, not less.
Past investment in the CSIRO has generated dozens of world-leading inventions and commercial innovations. Amongst other things, Australia and the world can thank the CSIRO for inventing WiFi, plastic bank notes and the Hendra virus vaccine.
The CSIRO shouldn’t have to sell the farm to keep this proud tradition of research going. The Abbott Government should urgently intervene to restore the funding this agency needs and end its vendetta against Australian science.
WEDNESDAY, 19 AUGUST 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: JENNIFER RAYNER 0428 214 856