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PM’s Gosford tax building praise misses primary concerns

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Now here’s a country with its priorities straight: demolish a 50-year-old primary school to build a corporate tax office we don’t need.

Well, that’s what I couldn’t help thinking when I heard radio reports today about Prime Minister Turnbull’s visit to Gosford. He praised the new ATO development on the waterfront, adjacent to Central Coast Stadium. What didn’t get a mention was the fact that Gosford Primary School was bulldozed to make way for it. Yes, you read that correctly.

Perhaps I’m missing something really big here, but:

  • Taxes are as high as ever and any notion that we need to invest in more revenue raising facilities is preposterous on its face.
  • Even the ATO itself is crowing about raising billions by clamping down on foreign company tax avoidance. Most of this was achieved without new facilities.
  • There are no fewer than half a dozen dilapidated sites within the Gosford CBD which would have been better served as locations for the new office (starting with that hideous former Commonwealth Bank building smack bang in the centre of town).
  • The new building is located on the city fringe, which means the economic benefit of 600 people spending in town will be less than if it were in the CBD proper.
  • The claims of “600 more jobs” has not been verified as being net adds or relocated positions.
  • And the end of the day the new building appears to only take up about 20% of the entire site. With a little planning and better design the school could have been moved on the same site (loose change for the ATO).

Anyway, there’s not much point in whining about it as politics and lunacy go hand-in-hand.

Note to every principal in this country – do whatever you can to heritage list your school to prevent it being razed for unnecessary revenue raising facilities!

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