IT was laundered as the perfect example of decentralisation by New England MP Barnaby Joyce, but a government inquiry has found moving the APVMA to Armidale was so detrimental to the organisation, it may take up to five years to recover.
The federal committee behind the inquiry said in the future, the government should look at the APVMA as a cautionary tale about the dangers of forced relocation of government bodies, with the organisation losing dozens of highly-qualified scientist unwillingly to move.
“The committee recommends that the Australian government takes into consideration the disruption caused by the forced relocation of the APVMA, and prioritises a fit-for-purpose and stable workforce,” the report stated.
“The committee believes that over the next five years, there is a risk that the quality of the authority’s assessments will be affected by a lack of expertise and experience.
“The relocation has caused considerable disruption to staff and severely weakened the authority’s ability to operate effectively and efficiently.”
The Leader requested an interview with Mr Joyce and is awaiting his response.
Mr Joyce pushed hard for the relocation while he was Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister, previously revealing he was the only one in the Cabinet fighting for it.
The two Coalition politicians, Nationals senator Barry O’Sullivan and Liberal senator Slade Brockman, on the Labor-dominated committee rejected the report’s suggestion the government should place a stable workforce above decentralisation.
“This policy provides proven benefits to regional communities through the creation of local jobs, local economic diversification, and stimulation of regional economic growth,” the pair wrote in a dissenting report.
“Decentralisation is also about equity. Rural and regional Australians deserve government careers just as much as city people.”