David Littleproud must explain why the Government Policy Order (GPO) made on 23 November 2016 to forcibly relocate the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to Armidale in Barnaby Joyce’s own electorate is no longer valid.
The GPO states that:
4 Location of corporate Commonwealth entities
(1) It is a policy of the Australian Government that a corporate Commonwealth entity with agricultural policy or regulatory responsibilities is to be located:
(a) in a regional community; and
(b) within 10 kilometres by road of the main campus of a regional university that is recognised for research and teaching in the field of agricultural science.
(2) In this section:
regional community means a community that is not within 150 kilometres by road of Canberra or the capital city of a State.
The policy of the Australian Government mentioned in section 4 is applied to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.
The GPO made it clear that the APVMA could not be based in Canberra nor within 150 kilometres by road of Canberra or the capital city of a State.
On 2 July, 2018 the APVMA CEO, announced that 30 to 40 regulatory scientists would remain in Canberra because of the ongoing risks the forced relocation pork barrel continues to have on the agency.
This is in direct opposition to the GPO and Dr Parker confirmed this in Senate Estimates on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 when questioned about the ongoing risk to the agency bleeding highly qualified staff who refused to relocate to Armidale.
Senate Estimates extract: Tuesday, 24 October 2017, pg 148
Senator Gallagher: As part of that you wouldn’t be looking to maintain an office presence in Canberra of any sort?
Dr Parker: No. That would be against the government order.
So what has changed? Is the GPO no longer valid? Or did Dr Parker mislead the Senate Committee?