Barry’s set on an extreme makeover


Barry’s set on an extreme makeover

The Daily Telegraph
January 28, 201312:00AM

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NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell is planning to give Parliament House an extreme makeover. Picture: John Grainger Source: News Limited

PREMIER Barry O’Farrell is planning the most extreme makeover in the history of Parliament House – a revamp to every ministerial office that could cost up to $150 million.

Plans from the Government Architect’s Office, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, reveal Mr O’Farrell is planning to redevelop every ministerial floor of the nearly 200-year-old building.

The proposed makeover would cost between $40 million and $150 million, government sources said.

The refurbishments are part of Mr O’Farrell’s plan to move his ministers and staff out of the plush Governor Macquarie Tower (GMT) when the government’s lease ends in December 2014.

A $150 million refit would save the government $175 million over 30 years, compared with the rent on GMT.

The government currently spends $18 million a year to lease offices in the tower, which boast sweeping views of Sydney Harbour.

It is understood Parliament House is the preferred option for the move, as it would get rid of office duplication.

Ministers and their staff are currently based at GMT, but have satellite offices in Parliament House for when Parliament is sitting. Under these plans, they would be at Parliament full time.

A spokesman for Finance Minister Greg Pearce said the final decision had not been made, but said Parliament would be the preferred option.”Any decision will be based on getting best value for taxpayers, including savings by removing the duplication of ministers’ offices,” the spokesman said.

“Logic would dictate that the most sensible and economically sound option would be to make use of a building owned by the government.”

The most dramatic of the planned changes will be on level eight, which houses the Premier’s office.

The plans show 10 offices will be built on the floor to fit an estimated 74 extra ministerial staff.

The Premier’s office, his staff offices, and five ministerial offices are also slated for a makeover, and Parliament procedure offices and committee offices on this floor will also be refurbished.

On level nine, a lift shaft will be removed to fit two extra staff into a ministerial office, and seven offices will be refitted to house approximately 50 staff.

On top of this, 12 ministerial offices on this floor will be completely refurbished.

Two new offices and a meeting room will be built where a first aid room currently sits, and all non-government MPs on this floor will be kicked out to make room for more staff.

On level 12, three ministerial staff offices will be refurbished. The National Party Room is also set to be completely refitted.

The Parliamentary bar on level seven will be turned into a public cafe for visitors and tourists, according to the blueprints. Since winning government in 2011, Mr O’Farrell has based himself in Parliament House, avoiding the cavernous Premier’s office in GMT.

Late last year, the government approved refurbishments to two floors of GMT despite the fact Mr Pearce and Mr O’Farrell had backed moving out of the tower.

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