A REPORT detailing the pros and cons of moving a government organisation to Armidale can’t be released to the public before it has been seen by the nation's top politicians.
New England MP Barnaby Joyce has been called on to release the cost-benefit analysis of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) relocation to Armidale.
The Agriculture Minister said the report results were mixed, but has so far declined to reveal its details.
Fairfax Media, understands the cost-benefit analysis is regarded as a Cabinet document, and is yet to go before the Cabinet.
A spokeswoman for the Agriculture Minister said it would be unprecedented to release such a document before it had been seen by the Cabinet.
The relocation was part of Mr Joyce’s election campaign, but the election promise still needs to be signed-off by his fellow Cabinet members.
“The cost benefit analysis will form part of the government’s consideration of how to best manage the relocation of the APVMA to Armidale, and any operational risks during the move period,” the spokeswoman said.
“This will include Cabinet’s discussion of the relocation process.”
As Armidale is both an agricultural centre and an educational hub, the government says the relocation will be “in the long-term interest of the agriculture sector”.
This week, Treasure Scott Morrison revealed the analysis had cost $272,000.
Mr Joyce has indicated the move would go ahead regardless of what the analysis found.
Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has criticised Mr Joyce for spending taxpayer funds on a report “he intends to ignore”.
“Now is the time for the Prime Minister to show leadership in demanding his Deputy release the tax-payer funded cost benefit analysis,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“The concepts of transparency and proper process cannot be cherry picked when it is convenient for the government.”
Mr Fitzgibbon also accused the Deputy Prime Minister of pork barrelling, however Mr Joyce said he was a firm believer in decentralisation.
“I think it's important that we create centres of excellence,” Mr Joyce said.
"Yes, it is in my electorate, but it makes abundant sense that a university that focuses and has its expert knowledge in this area also have the capacity to work with APVMA."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.