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Tuesday, 1 November 1983
Page: 2155

Question No. 448


Mr Spender asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 6 September 1983:

(1) What are the rules and procedures adopted by the Taxation Office in respect of the acquisition of rental accommodation for use by that office.

(2) Has the Taxation Office entered into an agreement, or does it intend to enter into an agreement, to lease 14,000 square metres of the B.T. Building in Hunter Street, Sydney, at a rate of $317 per square metre; if so, (a) what alternative areas were sought and (b) how does this figure compare with the average office rental accommodation in Sydney and the outer suburbs of Sydney.


Mr John Brown —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The rules and procedures adopted by the Australian Taxation Office in respect of the acquisition of rental accommodation are the same as those for all civil departments, that is a need must be established and justified, and an item must be introduced into the Department of Administrative Services forward estimates and draft leasing program, which is subject to approval by Government in the Budget context.

(2) The Department of Administrative Services, is currently finalising the details of a lease over 15,793 square metres of space for the Australian Taxation Office at 7-13 Hunter Street, Sydney, approval for which was given by the then Minister for Administrative Services on 24 November 1982. The rate is still to be finalised but will not be less than $320 per square metre.

(a) The Chief Property Officer for New South Wales undertook a wide ranging and intensive investigation of properties available which would meet the requirements of the Australian Taxation Office. At the time of approving the lease no alternative suitable or acceptable areas were available or likely to become available in time for the Australian Taxation Office to comply with the requirement of the lessor of its current accommodation to vacate the premises by 30 September 1984.

(b) It is higher than the average for office rental accommodation in Sydney and the outer suburbs of Sydney. However, such a comparison is questionable as the market rental for a particular building has little relevance to average rentals which reflect a range of standards, locational advantages and lease sizes. In this instance, the rental rate reflects to a large extent the lack of accommodation in Sydney of the size required to satisfy the Australian Taxation Office's needs and the vigorous competion for such premises. The rate was supported by the Commonwealth Valuer as being reasonable at the time of commitment.