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Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt says the Government will take the time to properly assess an evaluation into the Armidale based APVMA.

The statement from Minister Watt came in response to claims from local MP Barnaby Joyce that an announcement on the future of the agency was ‘looming’, amongst an obviously partisan attack on the way Labor is managing Agriculture generally.

“It has taken just 18 months for Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt, and the Prime Minister to lose the confidence of the agriculture sector,” Mr Joyce said.

“Our farmers are under siege. NFF’s public campaign, ‘Keep Farmers Farming’, is an embarrassment for Minister Watt and the Albanese Labor Government.”

“Farmers are being punished by Labor in almost every possible area, from fresh food tax, scrapping the Ag visa, banning live sheep exports through to the ridiculous and unachievable renewable energy policies that will only hurt agricultural land while power prices go up, reliability goes through the floor, and the profits go overseas,” he said.

“In the electorate of New England, our City of Armidale has been directly targeted by Minister Watt, with the looming announcement of the future of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Authority location, which could rip out 144 direct jobs from the Armidale community.”

“It is heartbreaking and offensive for a Labor government to come along and blame a whole regional community for a workplace issue. Labor do not believe in the same future that we do for our regional city, to build the potential for our university, to build local jobs and most of all in government departments and agencies to be based outside of Canberra. For this reason, I have started a petition to take the voices of the electorate and the agricultural sector to Canberra, to save the APVMA.”

Minister Watt’s response confirms that an announcement is forthcoming, but did not show his hand.

“I can confirm that I have received Ken Matthews’ rapid evaluation into the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), Australia’s agricultural and chemical regulator,” Minister Watt said.

“A review of the APVMA by law firm Clayton Utz found it had developed systemic cultural and regulatory problems.” 

“At my request, the APVMA Board commissioned Mr Matthews to conduct a rapid evaluation of the APVMA’s administration and governance, based on the Clayton Utz review.”

“The Government will now take the time to properly assess Mr Matthews’ report and develop an appropriate response.”

Minister Watt said the report will be released following appropriate consideration by government.

To sign Joyce’s petition regarding the future of the APVMA, visit: https://barnabyjoyce.com.au/save-the-apvma

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