The science minister has warned CSIRO not to ‘rent out’ its brand to gas companies. 

Federal science minister Ed Husic has questioned the priorities of Australia’s premier science body, the CSIRO, claiming that a “very major gas company” had approached CSIRO to support its claims of working towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions. 

Additionally, reports say CSIRO has ceased funding for its decadal forecasting program five years into the $37 million funded plan, allegedly due to an inability to attract additional external funding.

“Gas firms at the moment are making enough money to ensure that the mint could blush,” Ms Husic said this week.

“I do wonder why we need to have gas firms renting out the brand - [for] CSIRO to do decarbonisation work - that I’m sure they could get a lot of others to do.

“I would rather the CSIRO work with a lot more particularly smaller or extensively Australian firms on that [decarbonising] effort.

“CSIRO is an independent body and they make their own decisions.

“There might be some other ways in which they can bring their considerable research weight to bear on national problems and work locally. I do think with that national issue of decarbonisation, we do need to align a lot of our work.

“This is a government that’s committed [to] net zero, and everything that we can do - from government through all the agencies, harmonised on this effort - will go a very long way.”

CSIRO staff will discuss recent changes at the organisation at a session organised by the Community and Public Sector Union this week.