Wanted: top quality office space for a government department moving to the country. Must be close to everything, with stacks of car parking and plenty of natural light.
Progress on the forced move of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority from Canberra to Armidale is continuing with the federal government seeking office space for up to 25 years.
In an approach to market released this week the government is seeking between 2000 and 3200 square metres of A Grade quality leased office space in a new or existing building, located in central Armidale and close to a commercial or retail precinct, with public transport links and public car parking.
The building must be within 10 kilometres' radius from the University of New England campus, part of the justification for the controversial move.
In a promising detail for the National Party-led whole-of-government decentralisation agenda, the tender request also states the building should include 750 square metres of ground floor space for a second Commonwealth government entity under a separate lease arrangement.
That space also requires four secured and covered car bays.
The authority's temporary office in Armidale is located in the same building as the city's Centrelink office.
The move to the new permanent office is expected no later than June 2019.
Public servants are guaranteed to work in a building with a 4.5 star rating, which meets federal government security requirements, has showers, lockers and bicycle racks, as well as "a high level of natural light".
The government will lease the building for 12, 15 or 18 years, with five yearly renewal options to a maximum of 25 years.
Negotiations for the deal will begin in mid-August, with a lessee in place by January 2018.
The authority is expecting staff to decide if they will join the move to Armidale towards the end of next year with the final transition completed by July 2019.
The existing Canberra office will be wound up after that, the documents show.
In May, former Howard government adviser Chris Parker was named as interim authority boss. The government said about 40 job applications had been logged in Armidale.
At least 50 regulatory scientists and public servants have already left, with staff surveys in 2015 and 2016 showing fewer than 10 scientists planned to uproot from Canberra to Armidale.
The authority's move to Armidale, in the heart of Mr Joyce's own New England electorate, remains the most controversial part of the wider decentralisation policy, leading to accusations of political pork barrelling.
Alongside deputy Nationals' leader Fiona Nash, Mr Joyce is overseeing a broader decentralisation plan, with government ministers required to justify where agencies and departments in their portfolios should stay in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne by next month.
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