Has there ever been a more exciting time to be in Armidale?
Yes, we ask that with our tongue entrenched – slightly – in cheek, following the Prime Minister’s flying visit to our city yesterday.
With little notice, Malcolm Turnbull arrived at the University of New England yesterday morning to throw his Prime Ministerial support behind the decision to move the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to Armidale next year.
Mr Turnbull described the move as “a very logical connection”, during his visit with Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce.
Mr Turnbull and Mr Joyce addressed the media at UNE and described Australian agriculture as being on the “cutting edge of innovation”. When asked if the move had become a debacle after a cost benefit analysis showed only 15.2 percent of staff at the Canberra-based government agency were willing to follow the work to Armidale, Mr Turnbull said the move might offset the downturn in the mining and construction boom.
“The APVMA here, to build a connection with the University of New England, is a very logical connection,” he said.
Mr Joyce used the address to call for the continued growth of “this centre of excellence”, Armidale.
As we have said before, the Express could not be more supportive of the move to relocate the APVMA to our city.
We can expect 53 direct and indirect jobs next year, 404 the following year, and 350 in the third year following the relocation.
As we have said previously, we can appreciate that is will not be convenient for every employee of the agency to be moved to a new location, and the economic benefit to the Australian economy is only modest.
But as has been demonstrated, the benefit to Armidale will be huge, with job creation and a diversifying economy.
It comes as some in the Canberra media, particularly a column by a former UNE lecturer who now lives in the national capital, called on senior members of the government to stand up for their city.
In Canberra this issue is much more controversial as it is about job losses rather than job creation.
In the face of that, we welcome the Prime Minister’s support for the move, which brings benefits to our city, despite the reverse affect in Canberra.
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