The Australian Greens have today labelled Barnaby Joyce’s ill-advised move of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to his home electorate as pork-barrelling and are calling for the relocation to be immediately scrapped.
In the last 24 hours alone the move has prompted the resignation of the agency’s highly respected CEO as well as a Productivity Commission report slamming the proposal as costly and ineffective.
“Barnaby’s blatant pork-barrelling has led to disarray at the AVPMA, and the move should be scrapped immediately,” said Australian Greens Agriculture & Rural Affairs spokesperson Senator Janet Rice.
“The move has prompted a staff exodus and severely affected the Agency’s ability to do its critical job of protecting people, animals, crops, the environment and trade. We’re seeing an irreplaceable loss of experience at the agency, and now its chief executive’s resignation will also mean a huge loss in organisational knowledge and experience,” Senator Rice said.
“The business case for this proposed relocation wasn’t even completed until after Barnaby had already made the decision, and it actually showed that the move would cost the community $23 million more than it delivers. This idea is one of Barnaby’s biggest duds yet. He has managed to waste taxpayer money, hamstring a critically important government Agency and potentially hit the agricultural community for up to $193 million a year, according to the government-commissioned cost benefit and risk analysis,” Senator Rice said.
“The Nationals are increasingly irrelevant to their constituency and this move shows they’re much more interested in clawing back votes from One Nation than they are in a sustainable future for Australia’s food-growing regions,” Senator Rice said.