MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has this week taken to the floor of State Parliament to condemn the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) for opposing the relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) from Canberra to either Armidale or Toowoomba.
Mr Marshall gave notice of a general business motion yesterday in the Parliament, which also urged the NFF to reconsider its position in relation to the relocation and support the relocation of agricultural-based agencies from Canberra to rural Australia.
“A delegation from the University of New England and Armidale Dumaresq Council travelled to Canberra last week and put forward an impressive and professional submission to the Federal Government to favour Armidale as the new home of the APVMA,” Mr Marshall said.
“We have also received a $10,000 grant from the Minister for Regional Development John Barilaro to support Armidale’s bid. This is to assist with the costs of hosting the APVMA delegates when they visit Armidale in mid-July.”
Mr Marshall said the NFF’s line of thinking was as bizarre as it was pointless.
“The issue isn’t whether the agency will move – that decision has already been made – it is now a question of where the APVMA’s new home will be, Armidale or Toowoomba,” he said.
“One would have thought the NFF hierarchy would be supporting the decentralisation of agricultural Federal government agencies which, in the case of the APVMA, if Armidale was successful in its bid, would have a huge positive impact on the economic and social landscape of the region.”
Mr Marshall said the NFF’s assertion that moving the APVMA from Canberra could impair its expertise and research capability was “downright insulting” to the world-leading researchers at the University of New England and the work being undertaken currently by the CSIRO, NSW Department of Primary Industries and industry CRCs.
“The NFF seriously need to get their heads out of the Canberra clouds, reconsider their position and give their support to the relocation of agricultural-based agencies from Canberra to rural Australia, where we have a great deal to offer and the capability to deliver,” he said.
“Relocating agencies to the regions, like the APVMA, that plays a significant role in rural industries, just makes good sense.”