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Geoscience Australia to slash jobs

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At least 73 staff, including 45 executives, have been offered redundancies at Geoscience Australia.

The scientific body, which runs the tsunami warning system and helps analyse the nation's massive groundwater reserves, received 79 responses when it gauged staff interest in voluntary redundancies, according to an email from management to workers.

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 There will be a further reduction of about 10 staff in its information and communication technology section, specifically targeting executive level one and two positions. So far, there have not been enough volunteers from this unit, which recently saw a consolidation of directors.

Geoscience's management has set itself an April 4 deadline for notifying staff who will lose their jobs or have their work tasks changed as part of the restructure.

David Smith, an official from Professionals Australia, the union that represents Geoscience Australia staff, said the redundancies accounted for about 15 per cent of the workforce, which comprises about 740 permanent staff.

He said approximately 50 of the staff accepting redundancy packages were scientists, while the rest were in corporate or information technology sections.

Mr Smith also said the temporary contracts of 40 people would not be renewed when they expired this year.

The union representative said he was unable to confirm whether there would be more rounds of redundancies in the near future, adding that he was concerned the redundancies would hurt Geoscience's capabilities.

A Geoscience Australia spokesman said the organisation was rationalising to ensure effective delivery of its work program in line with its budget, but he would not say whether there would be future redundancy rounds or confirm the union's claim about the 40 temporary contracts.

''Throughout this process we will continue to deliver our work program while providing staff with as much information and support as possible,'' the spokesman said.

The efficiency dividend delivered a $6 million hit to Geoscience's budget this year.

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