'I don't think I will': Joyce refuses to reveal cost benefit analysis of moving agency to electorate

Barnaby Joyce Source: AAP

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is going to keep secret a cost-benefit report on moving a government pesticides authority from Canberra to his electorate.

Barnaby Joyce is keeping secret a cost-benefit analysis of moving the federal government's pesticides agency to his own electorate as he pushes ahead with the move.

The deputy prime minister commissioned the analysis before the federal election but promised during the election campaign - where he faced a challenge from independent Tony Windsor - to move the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority from Canberra to Armidale in his seat of New England anyway.

The decision drew criticism from farmers, industry and some of Mr Joyce's coalition colleagues, and many of the agency's staff said they'd rather quit than leave their homes in Canberra.

But the minister is pushing ahead with the process of decentralisation, and won't reveal the justification for it.

"The cost-benefit analysis is complete and in some areas it's indeterminate, some areas it's saying it's of benefit, other areas it's saying it's not of benefit," Mr Joyce told ABC TV on Sunday.

Asked if he would release it publicly, he said: "No, I don't think I will at this stage."

He turned the attack back on Insiders host Barrie Cassidy, saying if a cost-benefit analysis was done on the ABC, it would probably say to close the public broadcaster.

"It was one of the processes before the election," he said of the analysis.

"Now the election is over and a higher authority has had something to say on that and that's the Australian people.

"It is a policy of this government. The Australian people voted for us and we're going to see it through."

He couldn't say how much the report on the move cost taxpayers.

The Greens said without being able to see the report, the public could only surmise Mr Joyce wanted to uproot 200 public servants and their families for his own political purposes.

"A negative cost-benefit analysis would be an unforgivable waste of taxpayer money," the minor party's agriculture spokeswoman, Janet Rice. said.

Source AAP

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