NICTA confirms Victorian job cuts

Victorian Research Laboratory will need to be half its current size, says CEO

National ICT Australia (NICTA) has confirmed that redundancies are planned at its Victorian Research Laboratory (VRL) after the Victorian state government announced funding reductions.

A NICTA spokeswoman said that staff were being informed about the redundancies today.

According to a report by <i>iTnews</i>, approximately 60 staff would be affected by the first round of job cuts.

An email from NICTA CEO Hugh Durrant-Whyte was sent to Victorian staff on January 22. It outlined that the Coalition-led Victorian state government had decided to “substantially reduce” its funding contribution to NICTA VRL over the next two years.

In 2010, the Victorian government announced that NICTA VRL would receive $33 million of funding between 2014-2015 to create 160 research jobs. However, this funding announcement was under the previous Labor-led state government.

“Consequently, we will be restructuring and refocusing NICTA’s activities in Victoria. In future, NICTA VRL will need to be approximately half the current size and will have a profile focussed more on external engagements with industry in Victoria and internationally,” Durrant-Whyte wrote in the email.

“I regret to say that there will need to be a significant number of redundancies at VRL as part of this reduction in size. We will work with everyone concerned to make this as painless as possible.”

In response, Victorian minister for technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said that NICTA is headquartered in New South Wales, and over that period NICTA’s activities have become increasingly Sydney-focused.

"New South Wales leverages $5 for each $1 it invested in NICTA, compared to Victoria leveraging only $1.50 for each $1 invested," he said in a statement.

Read more: US tech firm enters Victoria, creates 300 jobs

"It is important that investments in research programs by the Victorian government deliver benefits in Victoria."

He added that the government has "not ruled out" considering new funding arrangements with NICTA if they benefit the state.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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