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Treasury – Heritage Buildings

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 23 November 2020

Tags: Treasury Building, Heritage

Ms O'CONNOR - The Department of Treasury and Finance's annual report at page 76 shows a loss on disposal of $28 000 on level 3 Heritage assets. What were those assets?

Mr GUTWEIN - I don't think anyone has ever asked me a question on Treasury's annual report.

Ms O'CONNOR - Well, it's a leading question of course.

Mr GUTWEIN - No doubt you want to take this somewhere, I am sure. In the Treasurer's annual report or Treasury's annual report?

Ms O'CONNOR - Treasury and Finance - page 76, loss on disposal of $28 000 on level 3 Heritage assets. Not ringing any bells?

Mr FERRALL - My guess is that these could be some assets that we transferred across to Government House but I will need to check on that.

Ms O'CONNOR - That leads me to my next question. There are a lot of people who really love our heritage treasures and who have a particular fondness for the Treasury building who were very relieved when you walked away from the plan to long term lease or sell the Treasury building. Have you walked away from that permanently, or is it still part of the plan?

Mr GUTWEIN - As long as I am the Treasurer or Premier, we will not be selling the Treasury building.

Ms O'CONNOR - Can I ask you how you came to this position? For about 18 months you were very firm about the potential of that building and why it could and should be sold. What changed your mind?

Mr GUTWEIN - A pandemic that has crippled international visitation and plunged the rest of the world into negative growth has certainly removed the market's appetite for an investment into a sizeable asset like the Treasury building.

What was certainly playing in my mind is that that building has significant heritage values. One thing I want to consider moving forward is how we can still have better public access to the building whilst Treasury remain on the site. Some of the Open House Hobart buildings that were facilitated were fantastic for the community. Concerning my thinking regarding the sale of the Treasury asset, there was real appetite for investment in the city and also for additional rooms to be built. The pandemic changed that. I do not think it would be wise to take a significant asset like the Treasury building to the market.

The other thing I am convinced of is that it is not the sort of asset that you can sit back and leave in abeyance for five years and then have another look at. We will have to look at an investment program for Treasury.

Ms O'CONNOR - Sorry to interrupt, but for clarification, you said 'not while you are Premier or Treasurer'.

Mr GUTWEIN - It is the policy of the Government that we will not be selling it.

Ms O'CONNOR - Did you get any realistic offers?

Mr GUTWEIN - We closed the process before we finalised it.

Ms O'CONNOR - A very wise decision.