As part of a raft of changes to the public purse, Treasurer Joe Hockey announced that the CSIRO's budget would be tightened to the order of AU$111.4 million over four years. The Government also announced cuts to the Australian Research Council (AU$74.9 million over three years) and Australia's Cooperative Research Centres initiative (AU$80 million).
The organisation is not only behind a number of Australian innovations -- everything from the Parkes Radio Telescope to Aerogard insect repellent -- but also conducts ongoing research across a range of sectors in Australia, including technology and ICT, astronomy, mineral resources and climate change.
Speaking about the changes to CSIRO funding was acting secretary of the CSIRO section of the Community and Public Sector Union, Dr Michael Borgas:
"These funding cuts to CSIRO are short-sighted and destructive," said Borgas. "They will do lasting harm to CSIRO and the capacity to deliver new inventions and crucial research for the next generation of Australians."
"These cuts to public funding of CSIRO could not come at a worse time. These budget cuts will mean more science workers will lose their jobs and more important research will not be done. CSIRO management might be faced with terrible prospect of getting out of some areas of research altogether,"
"The Government is already struggling with a perception problem when it comes to the science of climate change -- in no small part due to its policy to remove the price on carbon and decisions to scrap the Climate Commission, Climate Change Authority, Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Department of Climate change."
"Cutting funding to CRC's may damage CSIRO research across the most important sectors of national priority: the environment, agriculture, information and communications technology, mining, medical science and technology and manufacturing."