ITS distinctive, rusty exterior has seen it labelled a 'dirty rust bucket,' 'part of an abattoir' and the 'Pasha Bulker' by some cheeky locals, and now Queanbeyan's new NSW Government service centre is on the market.
The $42-million centre first opened for business in 2008 and streamlined services from 11 different government agencies spread across town into a one-stop government shop, housing hundreds of public servants over four levels.
While state government employees will maintain tenancy at the site, Premier Barry O'Farrell announced he'd sell more than $300 million in "excess" NSW Government property earlier this week, with the proceeds to fund" essential infrastructure to unlock new housing supplies."
"This money will be used to provide essential services for our growing population, and support economic growth and investment by removing road blocks hampering the residential construction industry," Mr O'Farrell said.
"The NSW Government property portfolio is valued at more than $100 billion and we will continue to examine the way it's managed to ensure the best value for taxpayers," he said.
Money raised from the sale will be spent on projects including upgrading Richmond Road - where traffic is expected to grow from around 25,000 to 70,000 vehicles a day by 2036 as new housing lots are developed - and connecting North Kellyville - where the population is expected to reach around 12,600 by 2031 - to the sewerage system.
"We are getting on with the job of putting taxpayers' money where it is needed most," Mr O'Farrell said.However state upper house member Steve Whan said the Government was trying to make a "quick buck" at the expense of longer term financial gain.
"Basically we had an investment from the last government in putting that office block there. It was a solid investment: the first office block built in about a quarter of a century in Queanbeyan," Mr Whan said.
"And now we've got the O'Farrell Government trying to make a quick buck by selling it off. They're not going to make a lot of money out of it because it was being funded by the Government [based] on the rent they were going to receive, and in the longer term they'll end up paying out rent to private companies instead of back to the Government.
"This is aimed at short term fund raising for the Government so that they can fund projects that are essentially going to benefit Sydney, not our region," he said.
Properties to be sold:
- Bligh House, 6-8 Bligh Street, Sydney
- McKell Building, 2-24 Rawson Place, Sydney
- Government Office Block, 2-6 Station Street, Penrith
- Government Office Block, 84 Crown Street, Wollongong
- Government Office Block, 11 Farrer Place, Queanbeyan
- Government Office Block, 117 Bull Street, Newcastle
- 9-25 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
- Vacant land, Parramatta Justice Precinct