The jobs of up to 10 Wagga-based grain researchers could be slashed amid state government funding cuts, according to claims from the Public Services Association (PSA).
A statement from the union asserts 10 jobs are set to go at the Grains Agronomy and Pathology Partnership (GAPP) at the end of this financial year. The union said a further 20 GAPP jobs will go at Tamworth.
The Daily Advertiser approached the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders, but neither would confirm or deny the union's claims.
The $130 million partnership between the NSW and federal governments was announced five years ago and has been successful in developing drought-resistant crops.
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The GAPP is a partnership between the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GDRC) and the DPI.
The partnership has three major investment areas, namely winter crop agronomy research, winter crop pathology research and an infrastructure, capacity building and skills development program.
It is understood the GAPP employs a number of other staff in towns and cities across NSW and QLD.
A statement from the PSA said as climate change takes hold winter crops like chickpeas, canola and wheat will need to be developed for NSW's northern and southern cropping districts which can cope with high heat and low water.
Despite this, the union claims field scientists and technicians at the GAPP program have been told to clear out their desks by June 30 after the state government pulled funds.
Assistant PSA secretary Troy Wright said the apparent decision by the state government beggars belief.
"We live in a sunburnt country which we know is getting more and more parched and this mob in Macquarie Street are pinching pennies," Mr Wright said.
"Researchers shouldn't have to beg for funds. Imagine if nurses asked sick people for 50 dollars or police let victims of crime buy them lunch," he said.
"Surely our farming industry isn't going to suffer due to a power struggle between state and federal LNP governments and farmers over who will pay for inventing global warming-proof chickpeas, canola or rye?
"Our farmers and rural communities have suffered through droughts, fires, floods, and a global pandemic and Premier Perrottet thinks this is the time to start playing chicken with the state's agricultural future."
A spokesperson for the DPI said their five-year partnership contract with the GRDC is due end on June 30 with negotiations for a future partnership currently underway.
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