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Thursday, 1 June 1972
Page: 2488

Senator CANT asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that in the sheep and wool research section of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisationthe number of senior scientists is being reduced from 28 to 10 and that the number of support scientists and technicians will be reduced propotionately; if so, does this mean that a number of major research projects will be postponed indefinitely.

(2)   Was the reduction in research projects taken last year during a period of depression in the wool industry; if so, in view of the improvement in the wool industry will the policy be reviewed.

Senator WRIGHT The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   The figures given in the first part of the question are incorrect. The major part of the sheep and wool programme of CSIRO is funded from the Wool Research Trust Fund, and is carried out in 8 production Divisions and 3 textile Divisions. There were 895 staff supported from this source at 1st July 1971, and by 30th June 1972 the number will be approximately 820. There will he no significant change in the ratio of professional to non-professional staff over this period.

(2)   The reduction was necessary because the funds available to CSIRO from the Wool Research Trust Fund were insufficient to maintain the previously existing programme in the face of increasing research costs. The staff who could no longer be supported from this source were redeployed to other work related to the rural industries, either in the same or other Divisions of CSIRO. I am assured that it is the intention of the Executive of CSIRO to retain a strong sheep and wool research programme within the framework of its total rural research programme.

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