Member for New England Barnaby Joyce challenged Shadow Minister for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon to support the APVMA in Armidale, when he met with the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud near Armidale’s new APVMA building on Friday morning.
I challenge Joel Fitzgibbon, the Member for Hunter, come out and back itBarnaby Joyce
“Come out and say that if a Labor government was elected, that you’ll show the same vision and the same enthusiasm that both the council and the people of the city of Armidale, and the 50 employees who are already here have shown,” Mr Joyce said.
Mr Joyce said the construction of the building was happening very quickly, and was expected to be completed by June next year.
“What we note here is that people are coming in from around the world to work here. I was just speaking to the scientist from Geneva who has moved here to be part of this,” he said
Mr Littleproud said the government was committed to decentralisation and thought the project was now too far along to be stopped. He thought the fact that the APVMA in Armidale could operate just as well from regional Australia as it could from metropolitan Australia was proven, with improved performance to a level not been seen for five-years.
He said there had been 300 applications for 50 more jobs in Armidale.
“Some of those are scientific roles, 79 of those applicants are seeking scientific roles and there are only 19 of those available. It goes to show that we can attract the world’s best here to Armidale,” he said.
“It also proves that if you put faith and confidence in rural Australia it will deliver.”
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said the APVMA was very important Armidale.
“They’re bringing a lot more people into the town. I don’t know what the final number’s going to be in Armidale, but let’s say it’s going to be 100 people. That’s going to be 100 families and a big flow-on effect for the Armidale community,” Cr Murray said.
“And they may not all live in Armidale, they may live in the region. So, it’s a regional benefit.”
It seems to me the sensible thing to do would be, having established it here, to let it run and see how it goes.Adam Marshall
Cr Murray said it should not be forgotten that the APVMA would also link in with UNE.
“So, there is a great synergy there, and all of that flows on to greater benefits for Armidale and the region,” he said.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said it would seem ridiculous to spend taxpayers money to move the Authority back to Canberra once it was established here.
“I don’t know if that’s still the position of the Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon and the current Federal Opposition or not, but certainly their policy was to take it back,” he said.
Mr Fitzgibbon said Labor’s priority will be ensuring the APVMA can meet its statutory requirements and its capability.
“We will do whatever is best for farmers and others who rely on the important role of the APVMA as the regulator of agvet chemicals and animal medicines,” he said.
“Barnaby Joyce continues to perpetrate his fraud on the people of Armidale. The Senate Committee recently heard the Government is now employing 40 APVMA staff in Canberra because they can’t make the relocation work.
“You don’t create regional jobs by destroying the government entities which are crucial to the productivity of our agriculture sector.
“What Barnaby Joyce has done in an attempt to improve his Armidale vote is a selfish act which has caused great disruption and cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars which could have been spent on vital services like health and education.
“The fact is Minister Littleproud and the APVMA CEO are already reducing the number of positions that will be relocated in Armidale to ensure that the APVMA can meet its statutory requirements. Let’s wait and see what its status is in six months’ time.”