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ATO staff displaced by boss's lofty office plans

ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan will be moving into the ATO office in the Sydney CBD while the employees who work there are being moved to Parramatta.

ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan will be moving into the ATO office in the Sydney CBD while the employees who work there are being moved to Parramatta. Photo: Supplied

Australia's top taxman, Chris Jordan, is reaching for the skies, building himself a plush office suite with sweeping westerly views at the top of the ATO's central Sydney office tower.

But up to 50 rank-and-file tax workers who are being kicked out of their office space on level 20 of the Latitude East building are less than elated about the renovations.

The debt-collection workers are among 240 departmental staff from Latitude East who are looking to the west, but only because they are being forced to move to Parramatta 25 kilometres away.

The cash-strapped tax office announced on Wednesday it would offer 100 more voluntary redundancies to the thousands of workers clamouring for golden handshakes.

The department wants to cut 900 jobs this year.

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The new high-rise digs will feature office accommodation for Mr Jordan, second commissioner Andrew Mills, and their assistants, as well as video-conference and meeting rooms.

It is understood ? space will have to be made on the top floor of the Goulburn Street complex and ? up to 50 staff from the ATO's service delivery branch have been given their marching orders so work can begin.

Unions are seething over the reshuffle. Australian Services Union organiser Jeff Lapidos has accused the commissioner of a blatant double standard in asking his staff to move offices to cut costs while investing in new space for himself.

"He talks the talk but he's not prepared to walk the walk," Mr Lapidos said.

An ATO spokeswoman said Latitude East needed to be rearranged to accommodate the influx of workers from the Hurstville office that is closing this year.

"ATO Latitude East accommodation is being updated as a result of a number of factors, including the closure of our Hurstville office," the spokeswoman said. "We need to accommodate staff relocating after that closure."

The spokeswoman said the commissioner would not be making Sydney his full-time work base but would continue to jet between the harbour city and Canberra.

Fairfax Media revealed last month that the 240 officials – who work in account services, debt and service delivery support units – were told they would be heading west by October, with no redundancy payouts available to those who did not want to shift.

Meanwhile, there will be unexpected pre-Easter good news for about 100 ATO staff who were disappointed recently when their bosses told them they could keep their jobs.

The tax office has found some extra money to fund redundancies and a number of "drop-outs" from the first round of packages means up to 100 workers from across the operation will be offered a golden handshake.

The office realised in February that almost 10 per cent of its workforce wanted to quit their jobs when 2187 tax officials applied for just 500 redundancies.

The lucky 100 will be told by their bosses about their reversal of fortune on Thursday.

6 comments

  • It's good to be King.

    Commenter
    WotTha?????
    Date and time
    April 17, 2014, 7:01AM
    • Assuming that the full facts are being reported here, it will be interesting to see how the commissioner lectures the unions about belt tightening when enterprise agreement negotiations happen if he is building himself a literal ivory tower. Double standards much????

      Commenter
      Sceptic
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 8:29AM
      • It is a given that public sector and university CEOs are increasingly adopting the salary settings and perquisites of the neo-liberal corporate CEOs that they desperately wish to be taken for.

        To earn his keep in his new office, maybe Mr Jordan could figure out how to extract tax from Google and the like, that have been allowed to simply opt out of the Australian tax system.

        Commenter
        Stephen
        Date and time
        April 17, 2014, 8:58AM
        • Belt tightening and little to no pay rises for everyone (well the low and middle classes anyway) and big pay rises, luxury, $3000 wine for everyone else. The top public servants are just emulating their politician masters. With these tough times coming it is no wonder that the stacked remuneration tribunal felt the need to give pollies a 40% (YES 40%) pay rise only 18 months ago! Watch the movie inequality for all to see the truth and big alarm bells on how the gap between the rich and everyone else has accelerated alarmingly over the last few decades.
          Australia under ABBOTT follows America down this evil path.

          Commenter
          Knights and Dames
          Date and time
          April 17, 2014, 10:21AM
          • All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others

            Commenter
            evanism
            Date and time
            April 17, 2014, 12:38PM
            • I imagine it would be too hard to send the staff from Hurstville to Parramatta thereby saving the taxpayer the cost of at least one move, but then ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan would lose his perceived entitlement to have a new office. PM Abbott should stop and Joe Hockey should stop this waste of taxpayers money.

              Commenter
              Johnno
              Location
              Canberra
              Date and time
              April 17, 2014, 1:18PM
              Comments are now closed
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