Chair of the Senate Select Committee into the Scrutiny of Government Budget Measures and Greens Senator for Tasmania, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, provides the following comments on the release of the Senate Inquiry Report into the CSIRO budget cuts.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “What is clear from this entire debacle is that both the Australian Government and the CSIRO management has at no stage placed any value on the work being done by the CSIRO climate scientists.
“If CSIRO Management or the Government had spent any time contemplating how important the knowledge gained by these climate scientists is to Australia and the world, then there is no way they would have rushed to make these decisions.
“The work by the Oceans and Atmosphere unit is critical foundational knowledge to guide Australia through a period of massive climate uncertainty and change. The works of Land and Water makes this information accessible and useful to industry and governments at a local and regional scale.
“The report makes clear recommendations to halt the restructure process until the election is over. Both the Board and the Government have the ability to do this right now.
“My view is that the Board members have not engaged sufficiently in this process and have been caught unawares regarding the depth and breadth of the job and capability cuts.
“No restructure should occur until an appropriate independent body like the Productivity Commission conducts a proper valuation of the worth of the climate research being done. The Government and the public should be able to examine hard data on the worth of this foundational information over the long term.
“It’s patently obvious to me that the more precise projections we have about the collapse of the Antarctic icesheet or the medium-long range rainfall or bushfire projections for Tasmania, then the better we will be able to adapt to climate change. The sooner we can put hard data around this the harder we will make it for cuts like this to occur in the future.
“This whole process has been heartbreaking for scientists. They have seen their future careers put at risk and their work to date publicly devalued. I thank them all so much for their contribution to this inquiry and I will keep pushing for more resources for you to do the work that is so critical for us all,” he concluded.
Link to the report can be found here