Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell expressed his extreme disappointment that the Rockhampton CSIRO would be closed down and the services moved to Townsville and Brisbane.
According to a CSIRO Media Statement (‘CSIRO continues to set science directions for future’ 21/05/2008) ‘the Federal Government announced in the Budget a reduction in direct funding to CSIRO over the next four years of $63.4m, of which $23.6 million came from the Government’s decision to implement a one-off increase in the efficiency dividend and $39.8 million from a further savings measure announced in last weeks’ budget.’
“The CSIRO have admitted that (21/05/08) the closure of this Rockhampton facility is a direct result of last week’s budget cuts to their direct funding.”
“Rockhampton is the Beef Capital of Australia and so it is logical for it to have a world class beef research unit to complement its reputation,” Senator Boswell said.
“The Rudd Labor Budget was obviously the final straw that closed this important facility that has provided much of CSIRO’s research into livestock production in northern Australia.”
“This is a dumb closure for the smart state and is a further blow to the lagging scientific research climate in Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has been trying to prop up.”
“Only two years ago the CSIRO spent $3 million to refit the JM Rendel Laboratory, providing new facilities and upgraded laboratories. Logic would dictate that they wouldn’t have spent this money without viewing this facility that employs 27 staff, as a long term research facility.”
“This closure has the potential to throw into question the role of the Belmont Research Station that has operated for 55 years out of the Rockhampton CSIRO” Senator Boswell said.
“Where is the local member Kirsten Livermore in all this? Why isn’t she out there fighting to retain this research station for one of the largest industries in Central Queensland?”
“This laboratory complex that has been open since 1981and is a valuable resource in livestock research specialising in genetics, nutrition and the interaction of livestock with the environment.”
“I’ll be keeping a close on whether the research that this facility currently does is continued even when the scientists are moved.”
“This is just another example that shows how the Rudd Government doesn’t care about Regional Australia.”