CSIRO prepares to cut another 300 jobs

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CSIRO prepares to cut another 300 jobs

Up to 700 to go in a year.

Australia’s peak science research organisation has flagged a further 320 potential job cuts as a result of a restructure aimed at cutting costs and the Government’s ongoing public service hiring freeze.

CSIRO late last week revealed it had identified 320 more roles that could go over the next financial year, adding to 400 positions it had already cut over the past nine months.

Last November assistant treasurer Arthur Sinodinos confirmed up to 600 non-ongoing and contract workers would lose their jobs as a result of the hiring freeze, implemented last year following the federal election. The freeze prohibits the hiring or renewal of staff on short-term contracts on a government-wide basis.

The figure represented almost half of the 1400 contract and temporary workers the CSIRO employed at the time, according to the Community and Public Sector Union. 

At the end of March this year, the CSIRO employed 6079 staff in total according to the CPSU - down from 6477 positions it counted at the end of June last year.

The further 320 roles identified by the CSIRO this week as occupying the firing line involve a mixture of ongoing and contract staff.

In advice provided to the CPSU, the CSIRO said it would possibly be able to redeploy 220 of those positions. 

Workers in administration and research management positions residing in Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane will likely bear the brunt of the cuts, though staff Australia-wide will be affected.

Research science and engineering, general management, research projects and tech services will also be impacted.

The CSIRO's information management and technology team is likely to let go 20 of positions following a $3 million cut to its budget.

CPSU spokesperson Anthony Keenan said the situation was “looking pretty grim”, with workers likely to be further affected by the upcoming Commission of Audit and federal budget.

Following an internal review into its operations, the CSIRO has spent the last year implementing a new organisation structure which it expects to complete by July.

The new structure centres around three new operating lines, including ‘flagships’, which encompasses CSIRO’s core science activity.

The flagships line of business covers all the CSIRO’s activities around manufacturing, energy, minerals, oceans and atmosphere, agriculture, food and nutrition, biosecurity, land and water, and digital productivity and services.

The review was aimed at identifying holes in CSIRO’s operating arrangement and recommending ways to reduce complexity and improve productivity.  

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