Today the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) released its March 2017 quarterly report showing that timeframe performance has dropped significantly.
The APVMA has stated the decline in its performance is “likely to continue into future quarters as the agency continues to prioritise work on those applications which are overdue”.
This is a direct result of Barnaby Joyce’s pork barrel.
In Senate Estimates in October 2016, departing CEO Kareena Arthy was asked by Senator Back about her legislative timeframe requirements and was able to report that:
Senator BACK: There would not be too many agencies of government that are 97 per cent funded by industry. Speaking figures: your performance in meeting legislative frameworks last financial year was I think around 66 per cent. What are you doing now to improve those figures for APVMA?
Ms ARTHY: We are very proud of what we have achieved, because in the next couple of weeks I am going to release the September-quarter figures, which are showing that for product applications we are completing 83 per cent of applications within legislative time frames. It was 78 per cent in the June quarter. The reason it was so low for 2015-16 was that we had a problem in the September quarter of last year, but we appear to have turned the corner, and our performance is going quite well, at 83 per cent.
Senator BACK: What is your target?
Ms ARTHY: The legislative requirement is 100 per cent.
Since Barnaby Joyce officially announced the relocation of the Authority from Canberra to Armidale in his own electorate, there has been a mass exodus of the APVMA’s staff, including regulatory scientists and this has undermined the Authority’s capability and capacity to do its work.
The Government’s own cost-benefit analysis predicted the relocation would have a significant negative impact on the Authority and the evidence is now speaking for itself. This view has been backed by the APVMA’s now departed CEO, experts and industry leadership groups.
Experts say it will take up to seven years to re-build the workforce. Farmers, exporters, pet owners, and all consumers of food which has been exposed to crop protection will be the losers.
The Prime Minister must stop this shocking pork barrel which will cost taxpayers up to $60 million and is a direct risk to Australia’s clean, green and safe competitive advantage.