Labor To Reverse Government's CSIRO Cuts, Invest $250 Million

'Australia cannot be an innovation nation while ripping the heart out of CSIRO.'

12/06/2016 12:52 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST
Fairfax Media
Bill Shorten has announced a big boost to the CSIRO.

A Labor government would reverse the government's controversial cuts to the CSIRO and re-invest $250 million in the national science agency, ALP leader Bill Shorten announced on Sunday.

More than $100 million was cut from the CSIRO in the 2014 federal budget, and despite announcing an Innovation Fund restoring some of that cash in December, the government has been criticised for pulling money from the science body. Since then, the CSIRO has released plans to scale back programs including climate science, announcing that 350 jobs would be slashed from the agency.

On Sunday, Shorten announced that a Labor government would give a big funding boost to the CSIRO.

"A Shorten Labor Government will invest $250 million in CSIRO to reverse the Liberals' cuts and ensure the future of key national scientific infrastructure like 'The Dish' at Parkes and the RV Investigator," he said in a statement.

"A Shorten Labor Government will restore CSIRO's capacity to drive the national science, research and innovation agenda that will grow new industries and build a smarter Australia."

He made mention of the recent budget cuts and job losses, saying Labor would halt any further reductions.

"Further job cuts are underway right now across the organisation. These will decimate our national research capacity in critical areas like climate science, manufacturing and food security," Shorten said.

"Labor knows Australia cannot be an innovation nation while ripping the heart out of CSIRO. We will act to end the uncertainty and restore funding and confidence to this great Australian institution."

"In addition to rebuilding and protecting CSIRO's research capacity, Labor will immediately move to halt any further job cuts and commission an independent review of CSIRO's corporate structure, management and functions. This is needed to ensure CSIRO's work continues to be aligned with the national interest and is not unduly influenced by the political whims of any government."

Sunday's announcement is in addition to the $50 million Labor already committed to the CSIRO for research and work specifically around the Great Barrier Reef, which was announced as part of the ALP's $500 million reef policy.

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