Another week has passed and Barnaby Joyce has still not released the tax-payer funded cost-benefit analysis (CBA) on his crazy relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to his own electorate.

Rather, the Minister has intentionally deflected scrutiny by attributing this ill-conceived plan to the Coalition’s policy on creating “Centres of Excellence in Agriculture” which is merely window dressing for the blatant pork barrelling.

If the Coalition’s policy on “Creating Centres of Excellence in Agriculture” was credible and genuine, it would be more than a three sentence proposal with no allocated funding, and no detail as to how the centres will be established or any information on how they will benefit the future of the agriculture sector.

During Senate Estimates this week we saw Minister Joyce desperately hiding his tracks. On the day of estimate hearings he sent in Senator Anne Ruston to do his dirty work by writing to the Chair of the Committee claiming Public Interest Immunity on disclosing any information on the $272,000 tax payer funded cost benefit analysis regarding the relocation of the APVMA.

Further, Senator Anne Ruston then overreached by verballing CropLife and ignoring their concerns about the relocation.
Senator CAROL BROWN: Thank you, Minister, but from the statement that I have seen from CropLife and what we have just heard here today, it does not sound like they are supporting this relocation at all.

Senator Ruston: It is not for me to verbal CropLife, but I would suggest, respectfully, that you seek to speak to CropLife before we just take one particular statement they have made as being their entire opinion on a particular matter.

This led CropLife to confirm it’s true position rather than letting Barnaby Joyce and Anne Ruston to verbally misrepresent them.

Twitter statements:

Natalie Kotsios (@NatalieKotsios)

18/10/16, 4:06 pm
To clarify @Anne_Ruston comments before:…

CropLife Australia (@CropLifeOZ)

18/10/16, 4:03 pm
.@NatalieKotsios CropLife Australia doesn’t support a straight relocation of the APVMA…(1/4) #estimates

CropLife Australia (@CropLifeOZ)

18/10/16, 4:05 pm
@NatalieKotsios We have made suggestions to govt on what a next generation regulator in a centre of excellence requires to be a success…2/4

CropLife Australia (@CropLifeOZ)

18/10/16, 4:06 pm
.@NatalieKotsios Yet to see a detailed centre of excellence proposal to support or not…(3/4) #estimates
CropLife Australia (@CropLifeOZ)

18/10/16, 4:09 pm
.@NatalieKotsios Very pleased if concerns of CropLife and others are being taken seriously by government. (4/4) #estimates

Following the unimpressed response from CropLife, Minister Ruston must issue a formal public apology.

As for Barnaby Joyce, the Prime Minister should grow a backbone and stop the relocation of the APVMA before the damage caused to the agriculture sector and potentially to our public health is irreversible.


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