Forced relocation of APMVA to Armidale
From Labor’s Shadow Agriculture Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon:
E&OE TRANSCRIPT, DOORSTOP, CANBERRA, TUESDAY, 15 MARCH 2016
SUBJECT/S: Forced relocation of APMVA to Armidale.
JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY, AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS: Morning everyone. Many of you will be aware of Barnaby Joyce’s rambling and desperate press conference yesterday as he tries to cling onto his seat of New England. My concern is that yesterday Barnaby Joyce reaffirmed his determination to move the APVMA, or the chemicals’ regulator, out of Canberra and into his electorate, which will be a disaster for the agriculture sector. Now Prime Minister Turnbull appeared to intervene in this issue, saying that he forced Barnaby Joyce to hold a cost-benefit analysis of the move and yet Barnaby Joyce yesterday appears to still be determined to move the APVMA from Canberra. I say to Malcolm Turnbull: you must now intervene and stop this craziness. Barnaby Joyce is only in trouble in his own electorate because of his own incompetence and inaction. He is only in New England because he failed to knock off Bruce Scott in the Queensland seat of Maranoa. He has been “electorate shopping” but he is yet to deliver for the electorate – no talk of health and education issues in his own backyard. His own inaction has led to Tony Windsor’s opening. He needs to stop the pork barrelling and start talking about the issues that really matter to his electorate, and of course the issues that really matter to Australian agriculture. Barnaby Joyce needs to learn that the way to be re-elected in New England is to talk about the issues that really matter to the people of New England and forget about this idea that he can become re-elected by simply spin and pork barrelling. The move of the APVMA to Armidale is a very bad thing for agriculture; he would be better off moving to the things that matter which is strategic planning for his electorate and for agriculture rather than thinking he can be lazily re-elected by one move of a chemical regulator which will be a very bad thing for Australian agriculture.
JOURNALIST: Why would it be such a disaster to situate the chemical regulator in Armidale.
FITZGIBBON: Well the chemical regulator’s customers are not farmers, they are the big multinational chemicals companies which obviously sit within our capital cities, including Canberra. The APVMA staff are largely highly technical people, professionals, scientists and the like, living in Canberra, have their kids in school in Canberra, and we are already seeing they are looking around for new jobs. Now the loss of that expertise in the APVMA is going to be very, very bad news for Australian agriculture. Already the chemical registration process is slowing down because people are effectively taking time off work worrying about where their employment future lies.