Now I have heard everything! The National Party has now stated that the poor performance by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) will be fixed by moving it to Armidale! This is supposedly to assist solving problems recruiting qualified scientists. This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so disgraceful1.
The initial reason Barnaby Joyce gave for moving the APVMA to Armidale was to spread government largesse to regional Australia. This is true; it is called pork barrelling. He also said later that it was to develop stronger links with rural industries. This was a lie. The APVMA works most closely with chemical and pharmaceutical companies, not farmers. Even if it did work with farmers, it is transparently dishonest for Joyce to believe it needed to be in his own electorate2, as other electorates were considered more appropriate. After all, it is now even further away from farms in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
For the Nationals to now say that the move to Armidale is required to boost performance, when it was the mooted move to Armidale which caused people to leave the organisation and led to its performance dropping off, is beyond the pale.
It is symptomatic of how much disdain these politicians have for the taxpayers, that they would waste up to two hundred million dollars just to bolster Joyce’s future electoral chances. It also clearly demonstrates why politics in this country has decayed to a game the politicians play where the only real concern is what’s in it for them.