Empty chairs at empty tables cost $5000 each 82



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Australian taxpayers are funding phantom workspaces, according to a Finance Department list given to Parliament’s public works committee this week.

The federal public service has been forking out rent for a total of 34,000 vacant workspaces across Australia, with more than half of those in Canberra.

Fairfax media “conservatively” estimates it costs $5000 to rent space for each desk, putting the cost of this wasted resource at $170 million per year.

Commonwealth-leased buildings are running at 22 per cent vacancy rates in Canberra and there are 17,536 unmanned desks in the capital. Meanwhile, the public service has been renting space for around 5000 desks in NSW, 3500 in Victoria, 3000 in Queensland, and the rest in the other states.

Ironically, one of the buildings in Canberra with the most empty desks was leased by the Taxation Office.

A spokesperson for Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said, “This is inherited inefficiency. The former government signed up to many of these leases, while the vacant desks are mainly the result of job reductions which the former government set in train.

“Under Labor individual agencies were responsible for managing their own vacant leases.”

Senator Cormann has launched Operation Tetris to move agencies into vacant leases instead of signing up to any new leases.

Are you surprised to learn that the government is leasing empty office space, particularly in light of the recent expenses scandals? 

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  1. Ofcourse Corman is coming out with this, anything to try to take the heat off Bishop and onto the ALP, I will wait and see what Labor has to say

  2. Not surprised at all. Governments of all descriptions waste money, they don’t care because it’s not their money. Then they complain about welfare and pensioners costing so much, you never hear a word about this type of idiotic waste though

    1 REPLY
    • I remember stories when Howard Govt was in about massive waste in Defence – heaps of office equipment going missing

  3. How about these Liberals tell the truth for a change? now that would be a novelty !!! The federal bureaucracy lost about 15,500 staff between June 2012, when its size peaked, and the end of 2014. About 1100 of those jobs were shed under the Labor government.In its first budget, the Abbott government announced a new policy of removing 16,500 full-time-equivalent jobs from the Australian Public Service by June 2017.

    4 REPLY
    • Hence it has become near impossible to deal with some agencies like Centrelink by phone. Insufficient staff to handle business.

    • No idea all I can tell you is what is in the news, never forget we have so much secrecy with this Government , we probably never know the truth about anything

    • This government is the same as Newmans Liberal Government in Queensland…..It was all smoke and mirrors…the truth came out after he was booted out!!!!…..People have had enough,as we did in Queensland….Abbot must go…what primeminister with any integrity would try to pass a law stopping people in government jobs from speaking out…this is what Abbot is trying to do…..A HUGE RED FLAG….ABBOT MUST GO!!!!

  4. Here’s another good news story about government paying for office space NOT used. Another $170million. Gosh, of we can tighten all of this up, we may get rid of the deficit.

  5. • I was a mechanic most of my working life. In 1980 I foolishly took a job as a machinery inspector in the State Government. I was told that I had to join super (they made it limited benefits) which up until then I had been refused. I also had to become a public servant.
    • I saw things that would make any working person shudder. Empty chairs as you say but more so chairs with so many people that didn’t have a job. I lasted five years before I couldn’t handle it anymore and I was forced to leave because I complained about the blatant corruption. The government keeps the numbers up in the public service to protect the voting system, vote for the two party system or leave. That is just my opinion.

  6. This government really needs to control their own expenses before increasing cost to the general population

  7. The liberals have been in government long enough to stop blaming the the Previous labour government they are a bunch of sooks who keep pointing the finger at someone else . Time to grow up and take resonsibility .

    4 REPLY
    • It takes time to fix problems especially when it has become so ingrained. And it is not just a problem. Not making any excuses.

    • I see your point Christine but it pointless to keep blaming someone else the gov has all the power to fix problems i am over the blame game just get on with leading the country in a positive forward thinking way . Thanks for ur reply

    • If a government of the day signs a lease for a building,the next elected government just can’t break it.
      It is obvious you know nothing about commercial procedure

    • Another negative comment . No i dont but its not the most world changing problem …. Get over it .. !!!!!!!

  8. When will these idiots stop blaming Labor?? When I worked for Govt some years ago (under both LNP and ALP) they were forever renting out new office spaces so it is not neither new nor in the least surprising

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