$5m Luxury EPA Fit Out

10 Jul 2008 archivemedia

Environment Protection Authority staff will move into luxury CBD offices in a $5.5 million state-of-the-art fit out while teachers and doctors are battling for pay rises.

In an extraordinary example of Rann Government waste, taxpayers will be slugged $225,000 to install a stairwell between two floors of EPA’s new building – so bureaucrats can access a staff café.

And more than 500 pot plants will be purchased, turning the office into a jungle, so the building will meet its six-star green energy rating. The EPA will occupy two floors of the 10-storey Victoria Square building which it will share with SA Water.

In evidence to the Public Works Committee, the EPA has revealed its fit-out cost is $5.5 million with a consultant employed to oversee the move. Local manufacturers are unlikely to be awarded the “invitation only” tenders for office furniture.

Shadow Environment Minister Michelle Lensink slammed the cost of fitting out the offices as excessive, saying EPA resources should be spent on monitoring and compliance.

“The fit out reads more like a description for luxury apartments than offices to serve the public,” Ms Lensink said. “It is an extraordinary example of government waste.

“Why are taxpayers being asked to spend $225,000 on installing a stairwell so bureaucrats can access a staff café? Why can’t they use the lift like everybody else?

“About 500 pot plants will turn the EPA’s offices into a jungle while the building will have state-of-the art fridges and computers to meet green star energy ratings. Doctors and teachers are fighting for pay rises yet $5.5 million is being splurged on new office accommodation.”

The EPA has a 15-year, $1.8 million a year lease over the offices with an option for a further five years.

It was also revealed taxpayers will be slugged $288,000 to de-commission the EPA’s existing office in Grenfell St. Taxpayers also face paying rent of $184,000 a year on premises in Kent Town until 2009 and $56,000 for offices at Stirling until 2012.

The Committee was told that $1 million of the $5.5 million fit-out will be paid by the landlord.