Joyce relocating jobs to save his own
Greens New England candidate Mercurius Goldstein and Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon say that the relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to the Northern Tablelands smacks of pork barrelling three weeks before an election.
Mr Goldstein said: "It looks like Barnaby Joyce is relocating jobs to Armidale in an attempt to save his own.
"Mr Joyce should have waited for the results of a cost benefit analysis that we understand is required from the Prime Minister.
"This move will go only part of the way to restoring jobs lost to the region last year when Tamworth lost the Defence force pilot training contract after 25 years of loyal service.
"Now what could have been a good news story for our region just looks like a grubby election tactic.
"Even the National Farmers Federation oppose the Authority being moved to New England. Are the Nationals so nervous about the prospect of losing their leader that they've even stopped listening to the voices of the Farmers' Federation?.
"The Greens have offered plenty of new high-quality job opportunities for New England that would pass muster in terms of both process and results.
"If Mr Joyce was aware of the hundreds of long-term job opportunities for this region in the sectors of renewable energy, supporting our local livestock industry, and the proposed National Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, he wouldn't have made this panic move to Armidale," Senator Rhiannon said.
Senator Rhiannon said: "It would be tragic if Mr Joyce's heavy handed tactics to saving his seat in parliament jeopardised local jobs growth.
"The Greens do not oppose such relocations but they need to be undertaken with transparency, thorough consultation and a commitment that experienced staff are not lost.
"Mr Joyce's ‘save my seat' approach to this relocation is now the Prime Minister's problem. Mr Turnbull should come clean on who made this decision.
"Is this Mr Joyce going rogue or did the PM's office give approval and if so on what grounds?" Senator Rhiannon said.
Mercurius Goldstein: 0434 919 606
Lee Rhiannon: Freya Newman 0411 669 022