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Home News Senate estimates reveals brain drain in Antarctic Division
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PEOPLETony Press, Lisa Singh, Simon Birmingham, Nick Gales, Steven Kennedy, Greg Hunt
DEPARTMENTSDepartment of the Environment, Australian Antarctic Division
TAGS Antarctica, Australian Antarctic Territory, Australian Antarctic Division, Nick Gales, Lisa Singh, Environmental science
The Australian Antarctic Division’s chief scientist fronted yesterday’s budget estimates hearing and revealed how many scientists and support staff have left the AAD since the May budget.
The Department of the Environment’s Australian Antarctic Division lost 20 staff members from its science branch as a result of funding cuts in the May budget.
Under questioning from Labor Senator Lisa Singh in Senate estimates, AAD’s chief scientist Dr Nick Gales confirmed 44 employees took voluntary redundancies after the most recent round of budget cuts. Of those, he said, 20 were either scientists or scientific support staff, the others coming from “head office”.
A tense exchange ensued between Singh and Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham, who objected to Singh calling all 20 “scientists” in a follow-up question and asserting that “since the budget, the AAD hasn’t been given appropriate funding to do its work”.
Gales later explained that technical support staff were qualified with degrees in disciplines like engineering or electronics and described them as “essential for supporting the overall science program”. He estimated that “about a quarter” of the 20 who recently left AAD were in technical support roles, but could not clarify exactly how many were genuinely scientists, taking the question on notice.
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Stephen Easton is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's previously reported for Canberra CityNews and worked on industry titles for The Intermedia Group.
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