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August 2023 Ordinary Council meeting wrap-up

Retention of Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) Armidale

The APVMA headquarters officially opened in Armidale in August 2019, signaling an exciting new era for rural and regional Australia. The APVMA is the regulator of Australia’s agricultural and veterinary chemicals, up to the point of sale. Following a review of the regulator, commissioned by the Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt, the Federal Government is considering the relocation of the APVMA from Armidale to Canberra.

If the APVMA were to be relocated to Canberra, it would see the loss of 150 jobs to the Armidale Local Government Area (LGA) which would then have an economic output reduction of $85 million once flow-on effects were included. In total 278 jobs would be lost. Armidale Mayor Sam Coupland recommends that Council write to the Minister expressing councils’ strong opposition to any proposed move and call upon the minister to provide certainty that jobs will be retained in Armidale regardless of the outcomes of any proposed management or culture review. 

Draft Renewable Energy Community Benefit Framework

Council has endorsed the Draft Renewable Energy Community Benefit Framework (Draft Framework) for public exhibition. The objectives of the Draft Framework are to promote benefit sharing strategies associated with the development of renewable energy projects in the Armidale Regional Council Local Government Area that:

  • Secure off-site benefits for the community so that renewable energy development delivers a net community benefit.
  • Ensure that the wider community share in the benefits resulting from the renewable energy development in the Local Government Area.
  • Ensure that the costs and benefits of renewable energy development will be equitably distributed within the community and inter-generational.

The Draft Framework draws a clear position from Council that the minimum community benefit threshold is 1.5% of the capital value of the development. Projects that do not deliver community benefits above this threshold are likely to be considered not in the public interest and by extension Council could object to these developments on public interest grounds.

Kempsey-Armidale Road Restoration Project (KARRP) – Early Contractor Involvement Contract Awarded

Stage 2 of the Kempsey-Armidale Road Restoration Project is currently in the progress with the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) Contract awarded to Seymour Whyte Constructions (SWC) for design and early construction works to a combined value of approximately $18,279,767. As part of the ECI contract awarded by Council, delegation was provided to the General Manager to enter into an early works contract with SWC. No contract has been entered into at this time, however discussions are ongoing with the SWC regarding appropriate contact forms and suitable activities.

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