- APVMA move to Armidale finalised by Cabinet, with office expected to open next March.?
- Latest phase in The Nationals election commitment to establish Centres of Excellence
- across regional Australia.
- Coalition Government delivers on relocation of Canberra-based rural research and
- development agencies to where boots hit the dirt in regional Australia.
- Deputy Prime Minister Joyce welcomes support from horticulturalist Don Burke
The Coalition Government has signed off on a $25.6 million relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to Armidale, delivering on a Nationals election commitment.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the move cements The Nationals’ plan to create Centres of Excellence in Agriculture; delivers on the Coalition Government’s commitment to decentralise metropolitan-based agencies which have a regional focus and provides some agricultural agencies with unprecedented engagement with farmers, growers, scientists and research experts.
“From the researchers who develop chemicals that the APVMA regulates, to the farmers who use them, this move puts APVMA regulators at the heart of where boots hit the dirt in country Australia,” Minister Joyce said.
“Not only will the move modernise the APVMA, with a fresh digital strategy essential to its success, but it will also provide unprecedented opportunity to young scientists on the Northern Tablelands, with new University of New England courses being developed to complement the hub of excellence, such as the new regulatory science course commencing in 2017.
“Relocating the APVMA is an important next step to bring more quality jobs and expertise to Armidale and the surrounding region - an area with a strong history in agriculture, now has an even stronger future in agriculture here.
“Young regional scientists have been contributing to the APVMA for some time, but now they will also have access to a world-class opportunity on their doorstep.”
The move has also won the support of horticulturalist Don Burke, of Burke’s Backyard fame, who was essential to the creation of the original APVMA more than 20 years ago.
“This is the best thing the APVMA has ever done, to go to Armidale,” Mr Burke said.
“It puts you in the absolute centre of country activities which will keep a balanced focus of the APVMA. It’s primarily focussed on country activities. What they are looking at are all the chemicals that go into all the crops and all the animals that finish up in us. They need to be in touch with people, particularly the country. I believe in this move, I really do. ”
Minister Joyce said Canberra-based staff concerned about moving to one of the most welcoming communities in NSW would be supported by a transition team and an Advisory Committee to oversee the relocation.
“Staff who may be concerned about moving to Armidale should know we will work in partnership with the committee to ensure the smoothest transition possible. Armidale has NBN, excellent cafes, art galleries, a university, cathedrals, quality health services, small bars, quality schools and a welcoming community,” Minister Joyce said.
“I would also like to thank the APVMA and our agricultural stakeholders who helped inform this process and offered their insights, such as CropLife’s suggestion of a strong online assessment capability which will be critical to its success.”
CSIRO, the Beef Industry Centre of Excellence, the Australian Sheep Industry Cooperative Research Centre, Australian Poultry Cooperative Research Centre, Meat & Livestock Australia, Institute for Genetics and Bioinformatics, Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit, Institute for Rural Futures and the National Centre of Science, Information and Communication Technology and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia already have offices in Armidale.
The move is part of a wider decentralisation strategy to grow the regional presence of agricultural agencies, including the Murray Darling Basin Authority expanding its regional presence from its current office in Toowoomba; the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RDC) moved to Wagga Wagga, and the set-up of offices of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (RDC) in Toowoomba and Dubbo.
The area accounts for 18 per cent of the NSW gross value of agricultural production.
APVMA is a corporate Commonwealth entity established in 1993 to centralise the
registration of agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines.
It assesses and registers and all agvet chemicals proposed for use in Australia, and
currently has around 11,700 products on its register. It is almost fully cost-recovered.
Other agencies moving to regional Australia include: Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).