News

Empty office space costing taxpayers $5.5m in lost rent

THE State Government is leasing more than 4000sq m of empty office space in the Ipswich CBD, costing the taxpayer more than $5.5 million in rent since the Newman Government was elected in 2012.

From March 2012 to October last year, the government had spent $5.48 million on rent costs and $218,544 on maintenance costs for vacant office space previously occupied by state public servants in buildings such as the George Thorn Building in Thorn St, Tower Central in Brisbane St and Icon Tower at the corner of Brisbane and Bell streets.

The problem harks back to the Bligh government's plan to decentralise 5600 public servants from the Brisbane CBD, including a commitment to move 1200 positions to Ipswich in 2012.

THE plan, announced in 2008, was estimated to save $188 million over 20 years through reduced leasing costs.

In May 2012 former Housing and Public Works minister Bruce Flegg told The QT the government would uphold the commitment to relocate 1200 staff, adding it would be "a very complex process".

Labor candidate for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said yesterday she believed the government had delivered half that number, with many public servants shifted from existing Ipswich offices, not Brisbane.

"Inhabiting the Icon building is vital for reinvigorating the CBD," Ms Howard said.

"My understanding is that the Icon building hasn't reached capacity and we haven't seen the 1200 public servants move to the town.

"I know for a fact that a lot of the staff in (Icon Tower) have come from other government buildings in Ipswich itself. The George Thorn Building has been sitting empty now for many months."

Answering a question in Parliament late last year from Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller on the issue, Housing and Public Works Minister Tim Mander blamed the former government for the long term lease of the 16,200sq m office space in the Icon Tower.

"The long-term lease ... was undertaken without final commitment of who the long-term tenants would be and what would happen to other leased space in the Ipswich CBD," Mr Mander said.

"The transfer of staff from a city centre to another city is a complex issue and cannot be achieved without significant long-term planning and engagement activities which address the issues employees may have with respect to moving from their workplace of many years."

The Bligh government plan was to relocate 20% of the State Government's Brisbane CBD office space by 2017.

Under a four-staged process, 15,000sq m of office space was to be relocated to Ipswich in 2012 as part of the Ipswich city rejuvenation.

Topics:  ipswich cbd ipswich city council ipswich city properties ipswich icon



Ipswich CBD bank to close for good

CLOSED FOR BUSINESS.

Not enough physical customers to keep doors open

'Ridiculous': Council refuses renovation at heritage home

NOT FAIR: Karen Solomon of Newtown is angry with Ipswich City Council for refusing her plans to build a colonial style double car port at her Newtown home.

Council rejected development application

Council refusal of 'high density' development ends in court

Ipswich City Council first meeting with the new 2016 council.

Developer took the matter to the Queensland Planning Court

Local Partners

Your gig guide to a great night out in Ipswich

The latest on the live music scene across the city.

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

Bush balladeer brings bruised blues to Brissie

BRIGHT FUTURE: Jordan Merrick has just released his EP, In Colour.

Singer-songwriter Jordan Merrick on his debut EP, In Colour

Ipswich lad 'Robbo' brings Studio 10 home to Nanna

REUNION: Studio 10 roving reporter David 'Robbo' Robinson broadcast the Channel 10 shows live from Ipswich with his grandmother Jan Wells.

And Eastern Heights fan plays host in the TV thrill of her life

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

'Ridiculous': Council refuses renovation at heritage home

NOT FAIR: Karen Solomon of Newtown is angry with Ipswich City Council for refusing her plans to build a colonial style double car port at her Newtown home.

Council rejected development application

Council refusal of 'high density' development ends in court

Ipswich City Council first meeting with the new 2016 council.

Developer took the matter to the Queensland Planning Court

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!