Staff at the CSIRO are bracing for another round of job cuts, as unions warn of nearly 60 planned redundancies from minerals research and the Sydney laboratory that helped invented wi-fi internet technology.
The CSIRO Staff Association said 42 scientists working in the research organisation's mineral resources unit and 15 from Sydney's Marsfield laboratory would be made redundant, following scores of job cuts since the Coalition came to government in 2013.
Association secretary Sam Popovski said jobs would be lost in Sydney, Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland, with CSIRO management blaming weak minerals markets and cost cutting efforts.
Three areas of the mineral resources research unit have been identified for job cuts, including processing, characterisation and hard rock mining.
Staff facing redundancies have been approached by management and CSIRO said it planned to recruit up to 25 new employees.
The laboratories being cut are in Clayton, Victoria, Waterford in Western Australia and Queensland's Pullenvale.
"More than one in five CSIRO jobs have been lost since the 2013 election of the Coalition government, an unparalleled tragedy in the history of Australian science and research," Mr Popovski said.
"The total CSIRO staff numbers at Perth's Waterford laboratory are 44 putting this site – if the proposed cuts are implemented – at increased risk of consolidation or closure.
"More than 100 jobs in mineral research have already been lost and these further cuts illustrate how government funding is grossly deficient in allowing CSIRO to cope with short term market fluctuations impacting on revenue from industry."
The Marsfield laboratory in Sydney, home to historic research that helped the development of wireless internet technology, will see job cuts in the Data61 unit.
Mr Popovski said the union had been told impacted teams were confined to the communications systems group, within the cyber physical systems program.
It includes small teams working in the electromagnetics, microwave systems, communications and project management capabilities.
"CSIRO needs to go back to being what Australians want: a trusted, government-funded leader in research for the public good and supporting local jobs in our key industries including agriculture, environment, technology, energy manufacturing," Mr Popovski said.
The association has contacted individual staff members to provide information and assistance and is seeking to minimise and mitigate forced redundancies.
It has called on the Turnbull government to improve funding for scientific research and stem Australia's slide in international competition.
CSIRO spokesman Huw Morgan said the changes were similar to staff adjustments in recent years.
"The changes are being made by the business units to ensure they can respond to different or changing demands and adapt when programs come to an end or new skills are needed to meet other opportunities," he said.
An email to staff this week said the cuts were driven by "the need to realign [units'] science capability in line with market demands."
Last month it was revealed moves to cut climate science research jobs at the CSIRO had cost taxpayers almost $3 million, despite an about face by the Turnbull government.
Information provided to a Senate committee showed 29 redundancies from the science and research body's climate science programs cost $2.88 million.
CSIRO management originally planned to cut 100 climate scientist jobs, but backed down a public outcry and reduced the planned job losses to 70 positions.