Politicians disagree over tax office building funding

Member for Robertson, Ms Lucy Wicks MP, and Commonwealth Senator for New South Wales, Ms Deborah O’Neill, are at odds over a promise to bring a government agency to the Gosford CBD in a brand new building.

Ms Wicks said the promise of 600 new jobs for Gosford via the new development would be a reality by 2017 and was reconfirmed as part of the 2015 budget.

Ms O’Neill’s office begs to differ.

“While few promises were made by the local Liberal candidates prior to the last federal election, the one landmark commitment seems to have been scaled back again,” she said.

“Tony Abbott promised to bring 600 new government jobs to Gosford, and to construct a new building to house them, all before the 2016 Federal Election.

“But in this budget, we see that there won’t be a new building as promised, just a lease and refit for an existing building, and it still won’t be delivered before the next election as promised,” Ms O’Neill said.”

She said no reference could be found to the proposed new building in the capital expenditure program set out in the 2015 Federal Budget.

However, in another section of the budget papers, Ms O’Neill said she identified a specific reference to a proposal to lease and refit an existing building.

Ms Wicks said the reference to the word lease in the budget papers had a specific meaning and related to the way the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) would structure its Gosford project.

“This is on time, and on budget, and we are working with the ATO to have this Centre of Excellence up and working by the end of 2017, like the Treasurer committed to right outside Gosford Council Chambers last year.

“So it’s sad to see a former Member for the Central Coast and current Labor representative spend so much time criticising our region, which we all love and work so hard for,” Ms Wicks said.

According to Ms Wicks, the Australian Taxation Office, which is funding the purpose-built facility in conjunction with the Commonwealth Government, has already informed a short-list of applicants as part of a rigorous tender process.

She can’t comment at this stage on who the short-listed applicants are but said the next stage would be for those parties to prepare development proposals.

Ms Wicks confi rmed that the project would be located in the Gosford CBD but said the specific location had not yet been determined and that a dollar value had not yet been put on the project.

Email, 14 May 2015
Federal Member for
Robertson, Lucy Wicks
Media release,
15 May 2015
Richard Mehrtens, media,
Offi ce of Senator
Deborah O’Neill
Interview notes,
19 May 2015
Offi ce of Lucy Wicks MP
Offi ce of Senator,
Deborah O’Neill