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3 June, 2021

Locals to lose jobs as CSIRO centralises operations

AROUND six fulltime Atherton CSIRO employees face the prospect of future relocation or a redundancy package after being notified that day-to-day branch operations will be centralised and shifted to Townsville.

By Michael Warren

ennedy MP Bob Katter and Hill MP Shane Knuth are against any move by the CSIRO to close its Atherton office and shift daily operations to Townsville.

AROUND six fulltime Atherton CSIRO employees face the prospect of future relocation or a redundancy package after being notified that day-to-day branch operations will be centralised and shifted to Townsville. 

In a further knock on effect a number of other businesses that share the same building including Barron Catchment Care, Teran NRM, Cape York NRM and JCU all need to secure new digs to conduct their business affairs with owner, CSIRO, expected to sell the building. 

“I am informed CSIRO is pursuing the continued expansion of the Australian Tropical Sciences and Innovation Project (ATSIP) located at JCU in Townsville,” Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter MP told Kennedy MP Bob Katter in recent written correspondence. 

“I am advised as part of this expansion CSIRO made the decision to close its Atherton site by mid 2022 with work and staff from Atherton to be consolidated at ATSIP. 

 “This includes offering permanent staff from Atherton a transfer to the ATSIP in Townsville.” 

Member for Hill Shane Knuth said he was gutted by the decision to shut the local CSIRO office in Atherton. 

“CSIRO provides a vital service to the region with public reference herbarium, an arboretum and student accommodation and is a well-known hub for research which attracts scientists from around the world,” Mr Knuth said. 

“Moving this service from the Tablelands to Townsville is a bed step backwards considering that we are right in the heart of the rainforest, Great Barrier Reef and is an agriculture hub. 

“The need for research to combat feral pests and noxious weeds is now greater than ever with feral pigs and the intrusion of Fall Army Worms, and Electric Ants. 

“It is a devastating blow to the community to move this organization and the flow on effects of moving this five hours away means the Tablelands misses out again. 

“I have seen in the past where smaller communities are done over, to centralise work forces into the major cities and we don’t want to lose another vital service on the Tablelands.” Mr Katter was equally disappointed. 

“We used to have more than 129 scientists in the Kennedy Electorate, now there’s probably under 20,” Mr Katter exclusively told The Express

“All that handed down wisdom and knowledge, from over 100 years, will never be retrieved. “Knowledge of local conditions and history is in people’s head, not written down In books or on the internet. 

“This Liberal National Government has destroyed countless industries through deregulation (tobacco, maize, dairy, sugar etc) and now they’re taking away more jobs from the regional areas. 

“Shame on them. The thrust of the old Country Party of Joh’s Nationals put owner operators into our regional towns and settlements. Now the ‘ring-barking right’ are draining the population. 

 “I am now calling the LNP ‘ring-barking right’. They kill the tree but they don’t take the timber. The tree is the mechanism by which the soil is enriched. Leaves fall on the ground and enrich the soil. 

 “Since the Coalition won power off Keating and Hawke we have watched disastrous decline of income, population and a plethora of damaged dreams.”  


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