THE relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to Armidale will be rolled out in five phases over two and half years, with the final transition of staff expected in mid-2019.
Until June, it will remain in the planning phase, which includes establishing the transition team and a physical presence in Armidale.
A Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said the expert transition team would manage the move and was expect to open an interim office in the city in the first half of this year.
“They expect to finalise an accommodation plan by June 2017,” she said.
Phase Two, preparation for the relocation, is the longest phase, stretching from July 2017 to March 2019.
It involves building or fitting out the new office, staff decisions about moving and finalisation of the workforce's requirements in Armidale.
From March to June 2019, the relocation enters the testing phase. Corporate teams, such as the IT, call centre and information and records, will move to Armidale to prepare the building, while case management and administration staff will be recruited and trained.
The final transition of staff to Armidale, Phase Four, is expected to take place in June 2019. The last phase involves the wind up of the Canberra office.
Agriculture Minister and New England MP Barnaby Joyce has faced criticism over the decision, with APVMA staff claiming they will be up to $100,000 out of pocket due to the move. However, Mr Joyce has remained steadfast in his commitment.
“We live in a modern economy where people in all fields are expected to move for work, I have done it myself both in politics and privately,” Mr Joyce said.
“It is rare to find a job for life in one town.”
The government is considering a pay rise of up to 15 per cent for staff who make the move, along with 12 free flights a year back to Canberra.
"This decision presents our institution with the potential for new industry, research and educational partnerships," University of New England vice-chancellor Annabelle Duncan said.
We live in a modern economy where people in all fields are expected to move for work.