Standing up for Canberra

There's still time to save the APVMA

An internal indicative timeline for the relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority shows it’s not too late for the Prime Minister to demonstrate some leadership and put an end to his Deputy’s pig-headed pork barrelling.

When I wrote to the Prime Minister last week demanding he reverse the relocation of the APVMA, I said the move is all cost and no benefit.

It’s been clear from the start that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s decision to relocate the APVMA from Canberra into his own electorate was never about what’s best for the agricultural sector.

Today’s report that, at best, ten of the APVMA’s 103 scientists will relocate shows the extent to which this process will gut the industry regulator of key expertise and personnel.

The Turnbull Government’s own cost-benefit analysis showed the move would cost the local Canberra economy hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars.

The relocation is bad for the city, it’s bad for the sector, and it’s bad for the economy.

The proposal to uproot the APVMA is opposed by staff, industry, peak bodies, the ACT Government, the Canberra Liberals, the Liberal Senator for the ACT and, in the past, even by the Prime Minister.

But Barnaby Joyce didn’t think twice about ripping 175 families out of Canberra, so long as it meant keeping him in it.

The Prime Minister must finally find some backbone and put the interests of the nation ahead of the interests of his Deputy.