Labor welcomes the National Farmers Federation's  (NFF) input to the debate over  the Government's plans to relocate the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and a number of Research and Development Corporations.

NFF CEO, Simon Talbot, said “the long term ramification of the of the proposals appear not to have been properly considered”.
Mr Talbot has also stated that:  “Many of the 170 staff at the APVMA are highly technical, specialist regulatory scientists whose expertise cannot be easily replaced if they choose to accept a redundancy package. This loss of capacity could add years to approval timeframes which are already failing to meet statutory requirements”.
Labor has said from the inception of the debate that this is Barnaby Joyce’s most dangerous thought bubble and during Estimates learned  the cost of relocation to these agencies will be upwards of $40 million dollars. 
Furthermore, the Government has not considered the moves within a broader strategic framework.  This was  evident in Senate Estimates questioning when Departmental officials could not provide a thorough analysis of the cost and impact of each move due to uncertainty around staff losses, redundancies and the flow on impacts of lost capacity and capability.
This is also of “critical concern” to the NFF that the proposed funding model for the relocations “rely on industry funds to implement government policy changes”.
In the interests of Australian agriculture, it's time for Barnaby Joyce to listen to stakeholders and back down on his poorly thought through stunt.
FRIDAY, 19 JUNE 2015

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