Barnaby Joyce’s Armidale office won’t close despite Malcolm Turnbull’s ministerial reshuffle this week.
Mr Joyce was sworn in yesterday as minister for infrastructure and transport after serving as agriculture minister for more than four years.
The office opened in March 2015 “to promote Armidale as a centre of agricultural excellence”.
It was a controversial move and at the time, the most expensive fit-out claim by a politician for at least five years.
Between them, the new offices in Tenterfield and Armidale cost more than $600,000.
“Armidale has a rich agricultural history going back to the 1820s and the new ministerial office will join a variety of other major agriculture groups that are based or have a presence in the Armidale region,” Mr Joyce said at the opening in 2015.
“There’s a natural connection between ag policy and research in Armidale, so it’s a perfect place to base my agriculture portfolio ministerial office.”
Mr Joyce said it was also about promoting and creating jobs in agriculture with 1200 people expected to graduate from university agriculture courses for 6000 jobs in the industry.
A spokesperson for Mr Joyce told Fairfax Media yesterday, Arimdale staff would be retained “to support him in the delivery of his infrastructure and transport portfolio responsibilities while in the electorate”.
Former Queensland agribusiness banker, David Littleproud has taken on the role of agriculture minister.