WARRNAMBOOL City Council’s hopes to secure a government department tenant for the old Timor Street post office have fallen through, leaving the council without an income stream to recoup part of the $1.3 million purchase price.
Nanjing Night Net

Last year, the Department of Primary Industries indicated it was considering basing its staff in a proposed $8.3 million state offices complex in the historic post office building.

Those plans have fallen through and the department is looking at other sites.

However, the council is still pressing ahead with a $500,000 refurbishment of the 1870s building for its own staff and still hopes to eventually attract a government tenant.

“The plans for a government centre won’t eventuate in the short term, so council will utilise the building,” council communications manager Kim Sweetnam said.

“Work will be done over the next few months to refurbish the building for staff accommodation.

“The post office was a strategic purchase that gives council options for future planning and the development of a government centre remains a possibility for the future.”

Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh yesterday confirmed the post office site was not suitable as a government department centre.

“The Department of Primary Industries has undertaken an assessment of the former post office site in consultation with Warrnambool City Council and concluded the site does not meet the operational needs of the department,” he said.

“DPI is currently working with the Department of Treasury and Finance to secure a site for the new office and expects to make an announcement on this in the near future upon completion of due diligence processes.”

Mr Walsh visited the old post office early last year with mayor Jacinta Ermacora, city chief executive Bruce Anson and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine.

Mr Walsh said the proposed office complex would also accommodate public servants from other state government departments.

The council indicated parking needs could be accommodated in a proposed master plan redevelopment of the railway station yards.

There are about 540 city council staff scattered across several locations, with most crammed into the outdated 1970s civic centre on Liebig Street. It is understood the post office refurbishment would allow staff to be centralised and offer modern facilities.

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