16 September 2022

Take a look at what the Tax Office's new digs will look like

| Ian Bushnell
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New Tax Office

An artist’s impression of the proposed building to house the Australian Taxation Office. Photos: BVN.

The Australian Taxation Office’s new home in Barton will be a six-storey building with strong green and wellbeing credentials and more than 33,000 square metres of floorspace.

The Tax Office, which has been looking for a new home for two years, told its 2000-plus staff on Wednesday that they would be moving to Barton.

It signed a 15-year lease for the $119 million, A-grade Barton building, which will be developed by Canberra’s DOMA Group and Kenyon Investments at DOMA’s 1.156 hectare site, 15 Sydney Avenue (Block 3 Section 22 Barton).

The development partners have engaged Canberra-based construction firm Bloc to deliver the project using local subcontractors and suppliers. Bloc also built DOMA’s Little National Hotel which sits behind the Tax Office site.

Australian-based global architecture firm BVN has designed the building around a central atrium and circulation stair.

It will come with the Commonwealth’s targeted 4.5 NABERS energy efficiency rating and a 5 Greenstar rating, or certified as being a high environmental performer that addresses social issues relevant to the building owner.

Feature atrium

The feature atrium and staircase in the proposed new ATO building.

The building design will take into account the changed work practices brought on by the pandemic to offer flexibility and to cater for staff working both from home and the office during the week.

ATO chief operating officer Jacqui Curtis expects the Barton site to make use of flexible design and unallocated workspaces, so some staff will be hot-desking.

“If required, it will have the ability to support growth in the future with a ratio of less than one desk per staff member,” she said.

“This will enable the best use of space in the new building and is consistent with the approach we have taken for new and refurbished buildings over the past few years.”

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The new building will allow the Tax Office to bring all its staff, currently working between 21 Genge Street and the Canberra Centre in Civic, under one roof.

The move will only enhance Barton as a premium precinct for government offices, with DFAT, Finance, Attorney-General’s, the Australian Government Solicitor and the Australian National Audit Office already based there.

DOMA lodged a Works Approval with the National Capital Authority on Wednesday, and more details will be available when it becomes public.

DOMA is hoping to commence construction in April 2023.

The 10-level building at 21 Genge Street which the Tax Office has occupied since 2007 is on the market through an expression of interest process that closed on 21 July.

It could bring a record price for a Canberra office building, surpassing the $335 million paid last year for another Commonwealth-tenanted building at 50 Marcus Clarke Street.

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So this is what our taxes are being used for. Why can’t they shunt the ATO out to the Canberra equivalent of Moonee Ponds?

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