The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is progressing an extensive programme of business transformation and planning that will support the relocation of regulatory business and people to Armidale in 2019.
According to Chief Executive Officer, Kareena Arthy, the task of relocating the APVMA is a challenge that the agency is working through collaboratively with its staff and stakeholders.
“Relocating to Armidale is not as simple as picking up our current business and moving it to Armidale,” Ms Arthy said.
“There are a number of details regarding our workforce, infrastructure and operating model that we need to work through before we can be certain about how the APVMA will move, how we will support our people and how we will operate in Armidale.
“It’s a big task, but one that the APVMA is well positioned to manage.
“As with any large-scale change we know some of our people will choose to find alternative employment. What’s great about our organisation is that while some staff have chosen to leave, there are even more who have chosen to stay and help to transform the business as we plan for the relocation.”
Retaining and recruiting staff is a core focus of the agency’s strategy to maintain business continuity.
In December, the APVMA undertook a major recruitment exercise, receiving over 200 applications to fill the various vacancies across the agency. Even though this recruitment exercise is being finalised, the APVMA has been able to successfully attract a number of highly-skilled regulatory scientists and other specialists.
Recruitment at the APVMA will continue, particularly focusing on attracting regulatory scientists and opportunities will be promoted on the agency’s website as positions become available.
The agency has also undertaken a consultative process with its staff to develop policies that reflect the APVMA’s commitment to support its people in the lead up to and during the relocation.
“We understand not everyone will choose to relocate to Armidale so we are looking at ways to retain our people as long as possible,” Ms Arthy said.
“We’re proposing a range of incentives to support staff to stay and these are outlined in our draft Retention policy, which includes things such as professional development opportunities, career management, and financial incentives in the form of employee bonuses.
“For those staff who choose to relocate, the APVMA is considering a mixture of financial support, once off payments and travel allowances to support staff and their families to move to Armidale, set up a household and manage ongoing responsibilities in Canberra in the first twelve months of relocation.
“Consultation on our Relocation and Retention Policies closed 28 February and we will be working with our Staff Consultative Committee and other parties to ensure the support proposed in these policies is appropriate.”