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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Page: 7834

Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources) (11:35): There are two things here. One is that I think we need to be very careful that you don't make a quantum leap of faith to suggest that the decision of the government to pursue its decentralisation targets and policy to move a number of agencies out of capital cities and into regional communities, where they're closer to the people that they represent, has been the cause of what has been a long-term systemic underperformance of the APVMA. I think we just need to be very careful that you don't accuse something of being the cause of something that it actually wasn't.

However, I don't know how many times I have to reiterate every single indicator as to why Orange would be a very suitable place for the location of this important agricultural institution. Yesterday afternoon, I think, I made the point that it is a decision of government. The government has exercised its right in making that decision, but in doing so it has provided, ad nauseam, a number of different reasons why it believes Orange is an extraordinarily suitable place for this organisation. As a rural and regional member of this parliament, I can assure you that I could go and speak to every one of my colleagues and they would all have somewhere in their electorates where they would like to have a government agency located. However, in doing so, everybody still has to demonstrate that it is a suitable place and an appropriate place and that there are strong reasons for the location of any government instrumentality in any area, rural or metropolitan. Quite clearly, Orange has a whole heap of factors and a whole heap of attributes that are attractive for the location of this instrumentality. I can go through them all again with you, but, in the interests of time, I will allow you to re-read Hansard to be informed of them.