WHILE Labor is yet to make a decision on the APVMA's future in Armidale, the party's New England candidate said she would fight to keep it in the city.
Labor has been extremely critical of the relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, and has suggested it may move the government agency back to Canberra if the party wins the election.
Labor candidate Yvonne Langenberg said the relocation, which was initiated by New England MP Barnaby Joyce when he was agriculture minister, was "poorly thought out". However, she is in favour of keeping it Armidale.
"Personally, I would like to see it stay in Armidale and I will be fighting very hard to keep it here," she said.
"[But] the party has not made a decision yet.
"It has a very important job to do and it must be able to do that job efficiently. Right now, it's a big mess that has to be sorted out and the party is reviewing how to resolve it."
Mr Joyce said if Ms Langenberg felt so strongly about it, she should make it the party-wide view.
"Her personal view is not worth a cup of cold water unless it's the party view," Mr Joyce said.
"The only way we will know it's the party view is if Bill Shorten, Anthony Albanese or Tanya Plibersek announces that as their view."
Mr Joyce hoped the relocation was "beyond the point of being reversed", with the construction of a new $24-million office well underway and nearly 100 staff operating out of Armidale.
"I would like them to show that, even if they don't agree with the policy, they agree the decision's been made and to work with it," he said.
Independent candidate Adam Blakester wants the APVMA to remain put. He said while the idea behind it was right, the execution was wrong.
"I'm in favour of keeping it, and of regionalisation," Mr Blakester said.
"I think we have to do the best we can to complete it in a positive way, and get it back to functioning properly.
"It was appallingly handled, which is unfortunate because regionalisation of government and business is a critical economic development strategy for Australia.
"The APVMA is another ham-fisted attempt at leadership by the incumbent, and one of the most poorly handled agency relocations in Australian history."
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