Media Release

Management of Commonwealth leased office property

MC 65/18

Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance and the Public Service
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia

10 October 2018

The Government welcomes the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) performance audit on the management of Commonwealth leased office property.

The ANAO acknowledges that Operation Tetris has been effective in delivering better use of Commonwealth office space and that frameworks, notably the Commonwealth Property Management framework, have been strengthened to provide greater central visibility and authority over certain lease proposals.

The Government estimated that Operation Tetris would save taxpayers around $300 million over ten years. This estimate was based on the space required by each entity (square meters [sqm] of Net Lettable Area), an average cost per square meter ($460/sqm), and an average lease length (10 years).

During the audit, the ANAO analysed five sub-leasing agreements, or Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), to consider savings realised by Operation Tetris. Using information from this sample of five MOUs, the ANAO estimated that the savings realised by Operation Tetris were less than initially estimated by the Department of Finance.

The Department of Finance has retested the savings from all 17 Operation Tetris moves using actual data from MOUs, leasing documents, and the Australian Government Property Register and confirmed its estimation of savings.

Using the ANAO’s methodology total estimated savings were even higher at around $322 million. 

The Government is committed to ensuring that the Commonwealth's property portfolio is appropriate to its expected needs and maximises value for taxpayers.

[ENDS]

Media Contact(s): 

Karen Wu - 0428 350 139

Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance and the Public Service, Perth