Mayor to fight to end for science

GRIFFITH'S mayor has vowed to "fight to the bitter end" to keep the city's CSIRO laboratory open.

A seething John Dal Broi said he was extremely disappointed to learn that the site would definitely close, despite receiving a phone call from CSIRO Chief Dr Megan Clark last Wednesday, where she did not confirm it was a done deal.

"I'm certainly going to advocate for the retention of CSIRO here," Councillor Dal Broi said.

"There is enough work to sustain the eight scientists and two support staff.

"This is one of the most sustainable irrigation areas in NSW and maybe even Australia. For them to pull out when the expansion of cotton is growing at such a rate is ludicrous.

"We've got people coming to this area from Narrabri purchasing land to grow cotton because of our water ."

The federal government cut $11 million from the CSIRO in May's budget and Cr Dal Broi said it had already caused enough pain in Griffith.

'It's not on. We've already copped enough of a hammering from the budget," he said.

"When you work it out local government is about $3.3 million worse off because of it.

"You bet we will fight this. I'm prepared to go all the way to Canberra with this.

"We need the research that is being done there especially with all of the crops growing here. It doesn't make sense.

"I know that the Griffith community is angry.

"We've had the blood donor centre close and now this. It's too important."

According to a CSIRO staff association spokesperson, CSIRO chief Dr Megan Clark is due to appear before the Senate Estimates committee this morning and may face some "tough questions concerning the plan to close down the Griffith Laboratory".

NSW Farmers Association Griffith branch president Helen Dalton called the proposal to close the Griffith lab "bizarre".

"When there's a reduction in research and development that really impacts on farmers, because it's so important," she said.

"We build our profitability on research and development we can see that on rice.

"Compared to 1974 we were getting four to five tonnes to the hectare now we're getting up to 13.

"They want to think long and hard about cutting the CSIRO.

"Announcements out of the blue are concerning and given this is a highly productive area, it's ridiculous they're pulling out. The whole thing is quite bizarre."

The Griffith laboratory has a long history of research and development in Griffith dating back to 1924.

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