Barnaby Joyce insists he’s happy on the backbench while batting away questions about a political conspiracy to dump him from the Nationals leadership.

WA Nationals leader Mia Davies last week denied there was a strategy to remove Mr Joyce after a leaked report suggested she was involved in a sexual harassment claim being sent to the Nationals federal executive.

Asked if the WA Nationals had engaged in a conspiracy against him, Mr Joyce said: ‘That is a question for them.’

The former deputy prime minister was adamant he wanted to stay away from the issue.

‘I am really happy being a backbencher and being fired up and ready to look after the people of New England,’ Mr Joyce told reporters in Armidale on Monday.

‘I’ll let the other commentary deal with itself.’

Mr Joyce was speaking at the announcement of the location of two sites for the federal government’s pesticides agency, which is controversially being moved from Canberra to his NSW electorate.

He said Australia was built on projects that were contentious at first but proved to be successful.

‘If we look at our Aboriginal heritage… there were a lot of naysayers about setting up a colony at Botany Bay, they said it wasn’t going to work,’ Mr Joyce said.