Barnaby Joyce has again put his own political ambitions ahead of the interest of Australia’s farmers.
Today the Minister confirmed his determination to relocate the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and a number of Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) out of Canberra to Armidale, Adelaide and Wagga Wagga.
The move from Canberra to Armidale in his own electorate will deliver a devastating blow to the APVMA. It will cost the authority the majority of its scientists and other professionals, impose heavy relocation costs, and take the regulator away from the chemicals and biotechnology companies it regulates.
In Senate Estimates last night officials confirmed that no business case had been done before the final decision was made on moving the RDCs.
Then adding insult to injury the Prime Minister committed to a further waste of funds and resources by undertaking a cost-benefit analysis, rather than telling his dysfunctional Minister that he is making a major error in judgement which has been criticised by the National Farmers' Federation.
"The loss of capacity could add years to approval timeframes which are already failing to meet statutory requirements," NFF CEO Simon Talbot said.
RDCs do not do research. They develop work programs and contract the research out to others in a competitive environment.
Moving a small number of RDCs out of Canberra will do nothing for regional communities or Adelaide, but will redirect the levies paid by farmers away from research to relocation, redundancy and efficiency costs.
The relocations have been aggressively opposed by the agencies affected.
Even though the Prime Minister has intervened by forcing a partial back-down which will require the RDCs to split their operations between Canberra and another location, he must go a step further and put a stop to Minister Joyce’s crazy and damaging proposals.
WEDNESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 2016