The State Government intends to remove around 40 scientists at the South Australia Centre of Cancer Biology.
Responsible for diagnosing cancer and running key clinical trials, the removal of these scientists at the Centre puts in jeopardy patient care, diagnosis and the trials which for many, offer a last hope of survival.
“It’s absolutely devastating and we are working hard to try and get the state government to reverse this dangerous decision,” said Sarah Andrews, Professionals Australia, South Australia Director.
The work carried out at the Centre is reliant on the combination of clinical and data resources available through Central Adelaide Local Health Network and the research and education available through the University and an Alliance attracts the funding for their work – much of which is non-government funding.
The current Alliance has been extremely successful, and the work done continues to deliver good outcomes for South Australians therefore there is no reason the Government and the University can’t agree to a continuation.
“Funding for this work is tied to the current alliance, and when that alliance is rewritten as proposed by the Government, the non-government funding tied to the position will be removed.
“Without this funding, scientists are at risk of losing their jobs and patients are at risk of delayed diagnosis and treatment,” said Ms Andrews.
The Adelaide Advertiser reports (pay wall) that Health and Wellbeing Minister, Stephen Wade has demanded an urgent briefing over the fate of the research centre. The Advertiser reported:
“A Government spokesman last night told The Advertiser that “senior representatives” of the Centre met Mr Wade’s staff last week, leading him to request “an urgent briefing” on “possible changes to the way it operates and how staff are being engaged in this process …the minister will consider the briefing and continue to engage with concerned parties.”
Despite the lack of government consultation on the matter, Professionals Australia was made aware of the intended cuts through the due diligence of their members. However, we welcome the Minister’s intervention is this critical issue for the health of South Australians.
Professionals Australia is aware of the scarcity of positions for scientists in South Australia. In 2017, when SA Pathology was looking at cutting 200 medical scientists, they were told to start looking interstate. This move to cut 40 scientists from a world-renowned research centre serves to drive talent away from the South Australia.
“In the interest of patient care, jobs, education and funding, the Government needs to show its commitment to the continuation of the current Alliance, not rewrite it at the cost of key non-government funding,” said Ms Andrews.
Professionals Australia representatives met with the South Australian Employment Tribunal this afternoon to discuss these cuts. The commissioner has provided the following:
- Status quo until report back;
- Paid time union meetings;
- Central Adelaide Local Health Network to consult and meet with unions; and
- Professionals Australia and CALHN are to report to Commissioner on 5 September.
Any members concerned with their employment here are urged to contact their representatives for further information.