Sunday, 6 January 2013

NSW Government to sell excess property to fund infrastructure for housing

WRITTEN BY URBANALYST STAFF    MONDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2012 17:47   PDFPrint
NSW Government to sell excess property to fund infrastructure for housing
In the News New South Wales
NEW South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell last week announced the government's intention to sell more than $300 million in excess government property, with the proceeds to fund essential infrastructure to unlock new housing supplies.
Among the nine properties to be investigated for sale are buildings occupied by public servants including several government office blocks in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, and vacant land in Parramatta.
The proceeds of the sales will be invested in new infrastructure, such as roads and water supply, through the recently established Housing Acceleration Fund.
"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."
The 2012-13 Budget allocated $181 million to the Housing Acceleration Fund, which is being used to fund 10 projects that will accelerate the release of up to 76,000 homes.
Projects to be funded in the $300 million second-round of the Housing Acceleration Fund will be announced in next year's Budget.
According to the government, properties to be sold are:
  • Bligh House, 6-8 Bligh Street, Sydney;
  • McKell Building, 2-24 Rawson Place, Sydney;
  • Maritime Building, 207 Kent Street, 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; and
  • Vacant land, Parramatta Justice Precinct.
  • NFRASTRUCTURE NSW chairman Nick Greiner has again insisted the only way to "move the needle on infrastructure" in NSW was to sell the $10-15 billion electricity poles and wires and have more toll roads.
    Mr O'Farrell has said he will wait until the next state election before deciding whether to sell the electricity poles and wires, which could reap $10 to 15 billion for infrastructure once those companies' debts are paid off.
    There are also suggestions that some disused railway land could be sold off for development.
    Some of the office blocks to be sold will continue to have government departments on site under lease arrangements with the new owners; in other cases public servants will clear out.
    The properties to be sold include 
    Bligh House, home to the Department of Finance and Services, Premier and Cabinet, Ministry of Police and Emergency Services; 
    the McKell building, home to the Department of Public Works; 
    the Maritime Building in Kent St, home of NSW Maritime Services; 
    and a property in Commonwealth St, Surry Hills, which houses the Department of Community Services. 
    Also on the chopping block will be government office blocks at Penrith, Queanbeyan and Newcastle, which house a range of branch offices of departments.
    Vacant land at the Parramatta Justice Precinct will also be sold.
    "We are getting on with the job of putting taxpayers' money where it is needed most," Mr O'Farrell said.
    "This money will be used to provide essential services for our growing population, and support economic growth and investment by removing roadblocks hampering the residential construction industry.
    "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.
    "The 2012-13 budget allocated $181 million to the Housing Acceleration Fund."