The Rann Government was going to spend $9 million on a fit-out for a building which was being vacated by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and SA Water as they moved into luxury new accommodation in the Catholic Church building in Victoria Square.
Last week it was revealed that the Rann Government was going to spend $5.5 million on a luxury fit-out for the EPA in the Catholic Church building known as VS1.
Liberal Member of the Legislative Council, Rob Lucas, said today that claims by the Chief Executive of the Department for Environment and Heritage, Mr Allan Holmes, that the EPA had been forced out of their current building were “misleading”.
“The reason that we’re moving buildings is that our lease at 77 Grenfell Street has expired and there is a new owner of that building and they have not been in a position to negotiate new terms so we’re out in the street. So that’s the reason that we’re moving”
(891ABC, 10 July 2008)
“The reality is that the Rann Government has chosen to allow both the EPA and SA Water to move out of their current building at 77 Grenfell Street in a move which will guarantee lucrative long term government tenancies for the Catholic Church in their new building,” Mr Lucas said.
“In fact, the Rann Government has now decided to move hundreds of other public servants from the Shared Services Office into 77 Grenfell Street and spend $9 million in a fit-out for the building.
“So it is hard to believe claims that a new owner of the building has forced the EPA ‘out in the street.’”
In addition, the Under Treasurer, Mr Jim Wright, in evidence to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee revealed that taxpayers will waste money on ‘dead rent’ as a result of the move:
“This is one of the logistical difficulties that probably was not recognised as clearly as it could have been … and the best choice that we could make was to take 77 Grenfell Street, even though that will involve some dead rent for a while”
(Jim Wright, Budget and Finance Committee, 30 June 2008)
“It is clear that Rann Government mismanagement of this accommodation issue will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.”