SCOTT THE LOT

AN OF­FICE MP COULDN'T REFUSE

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - TONY RAGGATT

STATE La­bor Mem­ber for Townsville Scott Stewart has plush new digs in the city’s Verde tower in the CBD.

Sources say it is the best ground-floor of­fice space in town and would com­mand an an­nual rent of about $100,000.

Ac­cord­ing to Qten­der records, Bris­bane-based Focus Fitout Spe­cial­ists was the con­trac­tor that fit­ted out the of­fices for a fixed price of $223,456.

But an of­fi­cer of the Queens­land Parliament who man­ages MPS’ ac­com­mo­da­tion de­fended the leas­ing of the of­fice, and said it would be a mis­take to call it over and above the stan­dard of other MPS’ of­fices.

Mean­while, Mr Stewart couldn’t say whether it was ex­ces­sive be­cause the leas­ing and fit-out were man­aged by the Gov­ern­ment’s par­lia­men­tary ser­vices divi­sion and he did not know how much it cost.

Pre­vi­ously the MP had oc­cu­pied rel­a­tively mod­est of­fices at 31 Sturt St.

Clerk of the Parliament Neil Lau­rie could not im­me­di­ately pro­vide a fig­ure on the lease costs but said those were not some­thing they re­leased be­cause they wanted to main­tain a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.

But he said the of­fice would be within the range of other mem­bers’ of­fices in size, amenity and cost.

“The new of­fice is, to the best of my knowl­edge, in ac­cor­dance with our of­fice stan­dards and leas­ing pol­icy through­out the state,” Mr Lau­rie said.

“It would be a mis­take to call it over and above other (of­fice) stan­dards gen­er­ally.”

Mr Stewart agreed he was happy with his new of­fice.

He said it was cen­trally lo­cated and gave him bet­ter ac­cess to state de­part­ment of­fices lo­cated “ba­si­cally up­stairs”.

“Now we have a board­room and an area which al­lows us to hold meet­ings in a sep­a­rate room where we can sit 10 or 12 peo­ple. We have a lit­tle bit more stor­age and mod­ern kitchen fa­cil­i­ties,” Mr Stewart said.

Mr Lau­rie said Mr Stewart’s pre­vi­ous of­fice had been in use by Townsville MPS since prob­a­bly the early 1990s and re­quire­ments, in­clud­ing for the num­ber of staff and se­cu­rity, had changed.

He said the pre­vi­ous of­fice was quite nar­row and small, prompt­ing the need for an up­grade or a move to a new of­fice.

“That’s the rea­son why the move has oc­curred,” Mr Lau­rie said.

“I man­age 97 of­fices through­out the state. We have a re­lo­ca­tion pro­gram.

“That’s based upon, es­sen­tially, need and amenity.

“We do three or four of these a year.

“The mem­bers don’t get to dic­tate where they are.”

With an elec­tion due in the next year, the next mem­ber for Townsville would not be of­fered the abil­ity to move or take an­other of­fice, Mr Lau­rie said.

“We (have) long-term leases gen­er­ally,” he said.

Verde of­fered the 180sq m of­fice for lease with se­cured base­ment park­ing quoted at $2500 per bay per an­num plus GST.

Pic­ture: ALIX SWEENEY

MOV­ING UP: State La­bor Mem­ber for Townsville Scott Stewart is happy with his new of­fice in the CBD.

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