CSIRO climate research staff cuts to be announced this month

File image of the CSIRO. Source: AAP

As the CSIRO shifts its focus away from climate research the agency is expected to soon reveal the impact on science jobs.

The CSIRO will reveal the extent of job cuts across its ocean and atmosphere division by the end of March with up to 100 positions to go.

Agency director Alex Wonhas on Tuesday told a Senate committee the exact numbers expected to be lost from Hobart, Victoria's Aspendale and Canberra's Yarralumla is close to being finalised as the science body shifts its focus away from climate research.

"Once individuals have been identified, we will obviously make every endeavour to find redeployment opportunities within CSIRO but I think in this particular case we are actually exploring a number of different options of maybe finding other institutional homes for this vital capability," Dr Wonhas said.

When it came to climate modelling, Dr Wonhas said the CSIRO was considering a closer working relationship with Britain's Met Office and adapting the research for Australian conditions.

The agency decided jobs would be lost from the ocean and atmosphere division after it performed poorly against five criteria, including financial returns and customer needs.

Dr Wonhas denied the changes would impact on Australia's commitments made at the 2015 Paris climate summit.

"I hope we can make a very meaningful contribution toward the Paris accord," he said.

And he further moved to calm anxiety about the job cuts.

"In this debate it can appear that CSIRO is pulling out of public-good research and I really want to categorically say this is not our intent.

"Several thousand of our employees are committed to continuing to do public-good research."

Dr Wonhas admitted it was a fair criticism of the CSIRO that the agency hadn't articulated its plan well.

The hearing also took evidence from Australian Antarctic Division chief scientist Gwen Fenton who said the job cuts could impact on joint research projects across the frozen continent.

"Reducing the number of people overall, it's hard to understand that wouldn't reduce the capability," she said.

Source AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch