It is bad enough that the Liberal Government does not have a Science Minister and has treated the research of climate scientists with disdain and contempt, apparently preferring the climate science of a nineteenth century poet. But funding cuts for the CSIRO would be immensely damaging for Australia’s future. We need a focus on innovation and applied science that the CSIRO is world renowned for. It is one of Australia’s genuine competitive advantages, and it needs to be protected and encouraged, not reduced and diminished.
And it is about time we stopped cutting funding for Government agencies through the use of the euphemism of “efficiency dividends”, when agencies are already required to become more efficient each year in order to meet the needs of a population which is now growing by 1.8%, and grew by over 400,000 people last year. Any agency which services a population growing at such a rate, with a budget which is only increased by the CPI to take inflation into account, is by definition becoming more efficient and should not be penalised with additional cuts.
The Prime Minister says the government should be judged by its performance in the area of science, rather than whether it has a Science Minister. Its treatment of the CSIRO Budget will indeed enable its performance to be judged.