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DLS academic comments on CSIRO job cuts

"It is not a technology startup."

It was recently reported that CSIRO is facing significant job cuts, with climate science teams among those expected to be hit the hardest. Deakin Law School Professor Samantha Hepburn has responded to the cuts with the following statement:  

‘The job cuts in the climate science division of CSIRO have been rationalised by the new CEO, former venture capitalist Mr Marshall, as being the product of a rationalised and streamlined approach to corporate management in line with startup companies such as Netflix.

The CSIRO, however, is a crucial agency for social and environmental progression. It is the Federal government government agency for scientific research in Australia.  It seeks to develop the scientific knowledge required to manage Australia’s wildlife, plant and land resources for ecological sustainability.

It is not a technology startup.

Mr Marshall  also suggested that following the Paris summit, the question on climate change ‘has been answered’ and as such, the people qualified to measure and model climate change may not be best placed to determine mitigation and adaptation strategies.

This is a non sequitur. These two issues are inextricably linked.

As a legal academic who has worked extensively in natural resource and climate change law, I am extremely conscious of the strong connectivity between the nature and pace of climate change and the regulatory and policy mechanisms that are needed to address it.

The work of the CSIRO and the expertise of the scientists and experts within Data61, Oceans & Atmosphere, Land & Water and Manufacturing is absolutely critical if we are to implement effective and informed climate change strategies.

The Paris Summit focused upon the importance of ‘bottom up’ strategies that utilise ‘subnational’ initiatives, informed by science and environmental agencies.  Maintaining the integrity of the accumulated research and expertise of the climate science division of the CSIRO is vital to the overall effectiveness of Australia’s response.’

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