Hundreds of Canberra public servants have been told they will be moving to northern NSW or looking for new jobs if the Coalition wins the election.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the veterinary medicines authority was going to move to Armidale in Mr Joyce's electorate of New England and the public servants who work at the agency better get used to the idea.
The move is opposed by the majority of workers at the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, their unions, the agency's management and the National Farmer's Federation.
One of the agency's workplace unions said the move was "pork barrelling" designed to bolster Mr Joyce's chances of re-election in his New England seat where he is under pressure from independent Tony Windsor.
The authority's chief executive Kareena Arthy says it would be hard to rebuild the agency without scientists, most of whom were refusing to leave the capital.
She has also raised concerns about sustaining the agency without staff and what it would mean for the number of products being approved.
But Mr Joyce brushed aside the concerns while making his election announcement at his old university in Armidale on Wednesday.
"It's great to announce today that the Australian Pests (sic) and Veterinary Medicines Authority will be moving from Canberra to Armidale," the minister said.
"This will bring across about 175 jobs.
"It will create a centre of excellence that attracts others to this area.
"It's going to happen."
Mr Joyce said the 175 jobs promised to the region would come from Canberra.
"They'll be relocating … but the choice is theirs," he said.
"There is some apprehensiveness from some, there always is.
"We're not asking people to move to Kathmandu or Timbuktu.
"When they started moving departments to Canberra, Canberra wasn't there, here we have a beautiful, vibrant, excited, cultivated and well established city and also great for families.
"This will be a good move."
Mr Joyce said Canberra was now big enough and well established enough to cope on its own.
"Canberra is a brilliant city, but it also getting to be a big city, there are 380,000 people in it now, big enough and vibrant enough to get ahead under its own steam, and it is," the minister said.
Community and Public Sector Union deputy national president Rupert Evans blasted Mr Joyce's plans on Wednesday.
"This is absolutely the worst example of pork barrelling we've seen. It's playing political games with the jobs and lives of 190 dedicated and highly qualified workers and their families simply to prop up Barnaby Joyce's chances of re-election," Mr Evans said.
"The APVMA's role is critical and finding qualified people for these roles is already extremely difficult.
"Turning these jobs into political pawns to be shopped around the country will make that task even harder."
Animal Medicines Australia's chief executive Duncan Bremner told the ABC that he welcomed investment in regional areas, but was worried about "paralysis descending on the APVMA" if highly trained specialists refused to leave Canberra.
"Moving the Research and Development Corporations was about moving back to the customers, we understood that.
"However, if you were to apply the same rational to the animal medicine sector you would then be moving to Sydney, because the main customers of the APVMA are the manufacturers who are based there.
"Farmers are the end users of the product they are not the customers of the APVMA."
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