UPDATE 5pm: Agriculture Victoria says any changes will be made in consultation with the union and staff, following reports up to 49 positions could be cost in research and development.
"Agriculture Victoria is considering adjustments to its operations so it can best respond to emerging science and technology innovation and deliver world-leading research for Victoria's agriculture sector," a spokesperson said.
EARLIER: Up to eight jobs in Bendigo could be lost under a reported plan to cut 49 "surplus" jobs in Agriculture Victoria's research division.
The research and technical positions are in salinity and groundwater research, based at Epsom.
Several other sites across the state are also in line for job losses under the proposal.
Management spoke to staff affected by the proposed changes on Wednesday, although Agriculture Victoria is yet to confirm what exactly these changes are.
"Victoria is leading the nation in agriculture research and it's important that we focus our efforts on what our farmers need to thrive for decades to come," a department spokesperson said.
But the Community and Public Service Union says 49 positions have been declared "surplus" and redundancies are on the cards.
Carly Noble, a red meat producer, said the loss of research and development jobs in Victoria would mean the loss of vital data for farmers.
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She said farmers used information that came from research to guide their farming decisions.
"Risk is one of the hardest things to overcome in farming... You need data to make sound judgement calls," Mrs Noble said.
She also questioned where farmers would apply for funding when trying out innovative methods and approaches, should there be significant cuts to the research and development sector.
"I'm a big believer in research and development... and I'm appalled there's a chance this will go, not only for the job loss but the massive long-term impact," Mrs Noble said.
CPSU secretary Karen Batt said the move was "reprehensible".
"These scientists fight disease, reduce environmental impact, and support on-farm practices to 22,000 businesses," she said.
It is understood the department has agreed to meet with the affected staff members and the union.
More to come.
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Agriculture Victoria is considering adjustments to its operations so it can best respond to emerging science and technology innovation and deliver world-leading research for Victorias agriculture sector.
Any changes will be made in full consultation with our staff and the Community and Public Sector Union.