Federal budget cuts and increasing running costs leave Geoscience Australia with a $5 million shortfall.
The agency expects to scale back its activities and is preparing to consolidate positions as it seeks over two percent of its $192 million funding for 2019-2020.
Geoscience Australia falls under the LNP government’s efficiency dividend, which mandates a two percent annual budget cut for Commonwealth agencies.
A four-year, $100 million federal mineral exploration program will expire in 2020, which will also create a funding gap in employee expenses of around $9 million, according to The Canberra Times.
A Geoscience Australia spokesperson told Spatial Source that the proposed measures to meet the budget shortfall would not affect new programs announced in the 2019-2020 budget.
“Funding for the four year Exploring for the Future (EFTF) Program will be reviewed at the conclusion of the program in 2020, as per usual Budget processes. The 2019-20 prioritisation process focused on decisions that would achieve savings of approximately $5 million, of which the majority relates to non-employee costs,” she said.
“The decisions made will ensure the organisation continues to meet our strategic objectives and also be financially sustainable.”
“Geoscience Australia’s work program has continued to expand over the years, and the organisation has received additional funding through new Budget measures for specific programs and external project work. New programs announced in the 2018-19 Budget are reflected in the increased appropriated budget for 2019-20,” she said.
Stay up to date by getting stories like this delivered to your mailbox.
Sign up to receive our free weekly Spatial Source newsletter.