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Concerns remain over proposed APVMA relocation

During the recent federal election, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce committed to relocate the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) from Canberra to Armidale.

This commitment was made prior to the release of an independent cost benefit analysis regarding the proposal. Animal Medicines Australia has grave concerns over the feasibility of the proposed relocation.

APVMA is the government agency that registers and amends new and existing products for Australia’s animal and crop health industries.

In a media release published on the 9th of June 2016, Animal Medicines Australia (AMA) CEO, Duncan Bremner expressed his concerns over the relentless push to relocate the Government Agency.

“The availability of current and future innovative animal health products is paramount to a productive Australian agriculture sector”, AMA CEO Duncan Bremner said.

“Reducing the availability of such tools through an understaffed regulator reduces the productivity of Australian agriculture and ultimately diminishes the return that farmers receive.”

...only seven of the APVMA’s 85 regulatory scientists were prepared to relocate, this highlights that our concerns are very real.
Duncan Bremner, Animal Medicines Australia

Mr Bremner said AMA’s well-publicised position against the relocation had always been about the potential loss of expert staff, and the difficulties of replenishing highly specialised technical capacity.

“No one can deny that new regional jobs are a good thing. The issue is whether there will be the appropriate people available to ensure the APVMA can continue its vital function,” Mr Bremner said.

“And unfortunately based on the evidence provided to Senate Estimate hearings last year by the APVMA CEO that only seven of the APVMA’s 85 regulatory scientists were prepared to relocate, this highlights that our concerns are very real.”

“Ultimately, the simple request we have of the government is that they provide us with the assurance that the relocation will not be detrimental to the industries which rely on the APVMA to be an efficient and effective regulator, and as such, being the ‘gateway to market’ for our important products.”

A Cost Benefit Analysis into the proposed relocation was completed in June. It is yet to be released.

The animal health industry considers there to be more cost effective alternatives to achieving Deputy Prime Minister Joyce’s objective of stimulating jobs in the region – alternatives which do not involve incapacitating a regulator of importance to the sustainable future of Australian agriculture.

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