The Abbott Government’s cuts to the CSIRO will adversely impact on the agriculture sector's productivity growth.
At least four regional research sites are now under threat with biosecurity being hit with 36 scientists in the agriculture and biosecurity fields losing their jobs.
These job losses come at the worst possible time, as only yesterday the CSIRO released its report Australia's Biosecurity Future: preparing for future biological challenges stating that "Australia's biosecurity may be in for a shock" and “as an island nation Australia has, largely been able to maintain an enviable biosecurity status. However, experts warn that the 12 biosecurity megashocks… could turn into reality if we become complacent with our nation’s biosecurity measures”.
The Dean of Agriculture at the University of Sydney Professor Adams said that “agriculture has been one of the best industries at turning publicly funded science into export income. If you cut both the long range research into those industries, you are robbing your economy of its ability to earn income.”
This statement was supported by Tony Mahar from National Farmers’ Federation who said that “the free trade deals will require more research not less”.
Minister Joyce claims to be a strong advocate for maintaining Australia’s biosecurity which is critical to our “clean, green, safe” image.
However, his words and actions are out of sync, as he continues to support cuts to genuine research dollars on one hand and then purports that he has “made it clear that biosecurity presented the greatest risk to the future of Australian agriculture, and that investment in our biosecurity should never by compromised” (Media Release, 25 November 2014).
The agriculture sector deserves better representation by the Minister for Agriculture than rhetoric and policy inertia.
WEDNESDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2014