SUBJECT/S: Backpacker tax, relocation of APVMA


JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, FORESTRY AND RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA: I’m in Canberra today to address the gathering of those who are members of CropLife. CropLife represents the big chemical companies which provide the critical crop sprays to lift productivity in our farm sector. Sadly, notwithstanding he accepted the invitation, Barnaby Joyce will not be addressing CropLife today. He can run but he can’t hide- Barnaby Joyce. CropLife members are of course angry about the Minister’s determination to move the APVMA, the chemicals  regulator from Canberra to his own electorate in New England, a rolled, gold, pork barrel. Barnaby Joyce should get himself down to CropLife today and explain to those industries affected why he is so determined to do them so much harm just to ingratiate himself to his own constituents of New England.

There is increasing evidence that there is a direct link between Barnaby Joyce’s determination to move the APVMA to his own electorate and his strong, determined support for the backpacker tax. It is apparent Barnaby Joyce wants to use the backpacker tax revenue to fund the APVMA relocation. In other words, he is selling out Australian farmers and growers just to pork barrel in his own electorate. It’s past time he gave up the cost benefit analysis of the APVMA relocation so all Australians can see clearly how bad an idea it is. I have no doubt if he releases the cost benefit analysis, he’ll be forced to back down and that will be a good thing for Australian farmers.
Where is Barnaby Joyce today? He’s down in Shepparton where he is telling the good people there that now they have elected a Nationals Party MP, he might be able to do something about SPC Ardmona. You will recall in 2014 Barnaby Joyce wiped his hands of the current crisis in Shepparton by saying, well it’s not a Nationals Party seat so I have no role to play here. Now in 2016, he’s saying if you vote for the Nationals Party, I might be able to do something for you. Post Orange and past the election of the new president in the United States, Barnaby Joyce said he has learned a lesson from both those events, but his bullying continues, his threats to constituents continue and they continue today in Shepparton and it is clear Barnaby Joyce has learned absolutely nothing.

JOURNALIST: Isn’t it drawing a long bow to link the backpacker tax to (inaudible)?

FITZGIBBON: Well we have Senate Estimates evidence that Barnaby Joyce was using the backpacker tax revenue to fund some of his white paper initiatives and we know one of those initiatives is the relocation of the APVMA to Armidale. There is a  lot of speculation that to bring some credibility to the relocation, Barnaby Joyce plans to throw a lot more at it. It’s already through $20 million, if he throws more money at it by raising backpacker tax revenue it will be one of the most expensive pork barrelling exercises we have seen in this place in recent decades.


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