SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—The bad news just keeps coming for Australia’s scientific community. According to an internal planning document obtained by ScienceInsider, the cash-strapped national research body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), will shutter eight research facilities in the wake of an austerity budget announced by the federal government for 2014 to 2015.
The labs slated to close include a horticultural facility in Merbein specializing in wine, table grapes, and citrus fruit; the Aspendale Laboratories near Melbourne, a stronghold of marine and atmospheric research; and the Griffith Laboratory in New South Wales, which specializes in water and irrigation. Industry was not consulted on the closures, which could “rob us of a great resource” and undermine Australian competitiveness, says Anne Mansell of Sunraysia Citrus Growers in Mildura. The planning document, called the CSIRO Directions Statement 2014, also spells out cuts to agency-funded research on geothermal energy and liquid fuel and marine biology.