Wednesday 27th of October 2021

Ventriloquist PM

Ventriloquist PM

Public Disservice?

From the ABC

Top bureaucrat flags more anti-terrorism jobs
The Federal Government's top bureaucrat predicts more of the public service will be devoted to counter-terrorism in the years to come.
The secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Peter Shergold, has addressed a national public service conference in Hobart.
He says state and federal departments worked cooperatively to help introduce the Government's new counter-terrorism legislation.
"I'm sure there are far more people working in the public service on national security and counter-terrorism than there were 10 years ago, and that will continue to change as society continues to change," he said.

not quite matched the reality

Industry disappointed

In recent decades the CSIRO has invented things such as polymer banknotes, gene shears, WiFi and the anti-flu drug Relenza.

Increasingly, it has been trying to get those products onto the market itself or through partnerships. It seemed like a good idea and it had Australian industries cheering the move from the sidelines.

But the expectations have not quite matched the reality. The CSIRO still earns only 10 to 20 per cent of its income from the private sector.

With a $1.2 billion budget, it remains a big, government-funded institution.

Some big multinational companies, particularly BHP, have successful partnerships with the CSIRO, but many small-to-medium enterprises say they have been disappointed.

Mr Hooper says his company's partnership with the CSIRO only works because he managed to bypass the CSIRO's bureaucracy.

"It took us a little bit of discussion for them to understand exactly where we were coming from, and vice versa," he said.

"But by the end of this year, hopefully, we'll have proven conclusively that we have a global industry on our hands, albeit a global niche of about $US3 billion.

"The intellectual horsepower within the CSIRO is just absolutely outstanding, whether it be in cold spray or whether it be chemical, electronic, you name it.

"All of that horsepower is there and it's generally not being tapped into very effectively by industrial companies. There are ways they could open up their bureaucracy to become more user friendly."

'Absolutely blossoming'

The CSIRO has been offering itself as a sort of scientists-for-hire consultancy to Australian companies through its Flagships program.

But many companies find it hard to see where the commercial opportunities might be in Flagships focussed on such big issues as renewable energy, climate change and water.

CSIRO chief executive officer, geologist and former BHP executive Dr Megan Clark says she has had nothing but overwhelming support for the Flagships program and what it is trying to do.

"We've had overwhelming support from all of the players in the Australian system and globally that we needed this approach, that we needed to focus our effort on the national challenges," she said.

"That's certainly what's expected. And actually our people come to CSIRO to make a difference on the things that matter to the nation and the world, and we find that our researchers are just absolutely blossoming."

But there is dissent in the ranks of the CSIRO.

"I think the changes at that time were directed more at a very narrow commercialisation focus, and the organisation increasingly got constructed to be a consulting-type business," Dr Borgas said.

"We don't accept that you can do better at organising science by managing it in a centralised way all in the name of trying to deliver science outcomes more efficiently.

"I mean it just doesn't happen that way. We think the organisation should be focused on delivering more efficient support and let the scientists organise the science for themselves."

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Gus: the CSIRO needs more public moneys not less, especially in the domain of pure sciences — science where technological applications are way down the track, but eventually necessary — including research on global warming, which of course private enterprise won't fund, except Dick Smith and his population reduction concept... see toon at top. And think about what Tony would do to the CSIRO to save some measly dollars... while turning "the boats" around. Idiotic and mean...