The NSW Government has been losing out on tens of millions of dollars in the way it manages its property portfolio, and the state’s property manager says the latest federal budget is to blame.
In the last financial year, the NSW Property and Infrastructure Agency (PIA) spent $1.7 million on cleaning the house of unpaid cleaning bills, which it has collected from residents in the state for $3.8 million.
It says that includes the cost of cleaning and maintaining the house, and has collected about $2 million from its own customers.
This is a total of $3,868,848 that has not yet been paid back, said PIA acting chief executive, David Brown.
“We have had to spend an additional $1 million on this cleaning and maintenance programme in 2017-18 as a result of the budget.”
He says the Government will need another $1 billion to clean up the house by the end of this financial year.
Brown says PIA will now be spending $2.5 million to provide cleaning services in the wake of the Budget, which will mean the agency will have to spend another $4 million cleaning the property over the next three years.
The agency also said it is “working hard to ensure that cleaning, maintenance and repairs to the properties we maintain and manage are in the best financial position possible”.
Brown said PIE was now reviewing the state budget for the upcoming financial year and will “take whatever actions are necessary to ensure we are managing the property in the most cost effective way possible”.
“If the budget does not meet the expectations we have set out, we will be prepared to consider any and all measures that are necessary,” he said.
He said the agency was working on improving its “accountability” policies.
But critics say it’s not the government’s fault.
As well as having to clean and maintain properties, the PIA collects property taxes, including NSW Government taxes.
They were collected in 2017 and 2018, and were supposed to be paid out by the state by July 1, 2019.
Since then, PIA has received no payment.
Despite that, PIE director of finance, Tim Worsley, says the agency needs to get its house in order.
“The NSW Government’s $2 billion in Cleaning and Maintenance Bill will have an impact on PIA’s finances,” he told the ABC.
That bill is due to be passed by the NSW Legislative Council on Monday.
According to the bill, PIRWA will be responsible for cleaning and installing new infrastructure within the state.
Under the bill’s Cleaning Services Plan, it’s estimated PIRWP will have a bill of $20 million for cleaning, $30 million for maintenance and $40 million for upgrades.
PIRWA has already spent $500,000 on a $1,200,000 maintenance project in the town of St Johns to help the agency meet its obligations, and it will continue to do so until it clears $5 million.