SCOTT THE LOT
AN OFFICE MP COULDN'T REFUSE
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.
MOVING UP: State Labor Member for Townsville Scott Stewart is happy with his new office in the CBD.