The plan to move the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) from Canberra to Armidale in Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s electorate is set to cost taxpayers $25 million. And just how much of that cost is inducements to public servants in the agency to up stumps from the nation’s capital to the regional NSW town? A tipster tells us one of the incentives for staff who do make the move is 12 return flights between Armidale and Canberra — but only for the first 12 months after the move. The Canberra Times reported last week that just 10 out of 103 scientists were expected to stay with the agency when it moves, and just 100 out of the 200 people in the workforce would move. The plan to move the agency has been widely panned, with benefits difficult to find (or justify).

Peter Fray

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