By JR on Friday, August 19, 2011
THE Barry O'Farrell government has embarked on its first round of public-service job cuts, announcing it will slash the number of positions at a research facility within the Department of Primary Industries by more than a third.
Staff at the Forest Science Centre, which is associated with Forests NSW, were told yesterday that 11 of their 31 positions would be abolished.
A number of senior scientists were told they could reapply for a reduced number of positions within the unit. Others were told they had two weeks to apply for voluntary redundancy. Alternatively, they could seek redeployment within three months after which they would be forced to take redundancy.
"We were really stunned that they targeted the science unit," a source told the Herald. "It's national science week this week."
The centre is the only unit undertaking research into the ecological sustainability of forests and agriculture. It also employs biodiversity researchers who look at species threatened by logging. "This will decimate the state's capacity for research in these areas," the source said.