$100,000 on coffee machines leaves bitter taste

Caffeine-addicted bureaucrats in the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism are making a "mochary" of the government's push to tighten public sector spending.

Taxpayers have spooned out more than $100,000 in the past three years to satisfy the department's coffee cravings.

While bean counters have plunged into public service resources and staffing levels, RET (as the department is known locally) has splashed out on nine top of the line Swiss-made coffee machines.

The nine coffee makers, all bought since 2009, cost $7025 each and total $63,225. Four smaller machines with an undisclosed price tag have also been bought by the department and blended in with the others during the same period.

The extra shot, however, is the amount of money RET paid for the actual coffee. Since 2009, the department spent $37,203 buying coffee for the machines and about $2000 a year on machine maintenance.

The brewing storm has caused quite a stir within Coalition ranks. Liberal senator David Bushby, spent the last week filtering through written answers he received following a recent estimates hearing.


"That adds up to over $100,000 that taxpayers have spent filling up the coffee cups of bureaucrats in this government department in around three years," Senator Bushby foamed.

"Given Labor's promise to rein in spending and exercise fiscal restraint I would've thought one of the first savings measures would've been swapping the taxpayer-funded macchiato, latte or mocha for a tin of instant blend and a kettle."

The department's answers showed nine Jura Impressa X9 machines were bought since 2009. The answers also reveal Tourism Australia has a $13,922 Carimali espresso coffee machine in its Sydney office, which was bought in 2008.

"The government simply cannot play the productivity card in a bid to defend its spending on these high-end coffee machines," Senator Bushby said.

"The amount of money spent on these lavish appliances is ludicrous, as is the ongoing running cost."

The department confirmed four other coffee machines had been bought in that same period since 2009, but did not provide the purchase price or running cost for them.

Senator Bushby said that meant the total coffee bill for that department was likely to exceed $115,000.