Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce must step in to save a $130 million ground-breaking research project developing climate change resistant crops says the union representing the axed workers.
And there is an urgency attached to this call for action as Barnaby Joyce can only guarantee he is in a position of power to intervene before 6pm on Saturday 21 May when the federal election decides the winner the electorate of Division of New England where Barnaby Joyce held a 54% winning margin in 2019.
The $130 million dollar project is on the chopping block due to bickering between the Morrison and Perrottet governments over who will foot the bill for developing winter crops like chickpeas, canola and winter wheat which can cope with global warming.
Field trial technicians and scientists at the Grains Agronomy & Pathology Partnership (GAPP) have been told to clear out their desks by June 30 this year after a Morrison and Perrottet Government stoush over who will foot the bill.
The GAPP project is a collaboration between the federal Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and the state Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and employs 20 staff in Tamworth and 10 in Wagga.
Many of those sacked live and work in the electorate of New England held by Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce.
“I have written to Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce requesting he look at this matter personally immediately, election or no election,” says Troy Wright, Assistant Secretary of the Public Service Association (PSA).
“Our members are deeply disillusioned Australian governments would fail to back home grown research into the agronomical challenges which await us.
“The call on our farmers is simple, make do with higher heat and lower rain but with the same timely yield, but they need back up to achieve this.
“These researchers are at the bleeding edge of cropping research, yet they are constantly looking behind themselves to make sure their stapler hasn’t been repossessed by their funding body.
“I’m calling on the Deputy Prime Minister to sort this out before the election so the people of his New England electorate, where many of these researchers live, can have some certainty no matter what the outcome.
“Do we have so many people working developing global warming resistant winter wheat, chickpeas and canola we can sack 30 without worrying?
“Barnaby Joyce needs to get state and federal Agriculture Ministers David Littleproud and Dugald Saunders in a room to sort this out to ensure we keep research and jobs in the bush so crucial to Australia’s agricultural future,” says Troy Wright, Assistant Secretary of the Public Service Association (PSA).