Posted: 12:00 pm on 7th August 2014

money-airHiring audio-visual equipment? $10,000.

Renting stage lights? $30,000.

Buying a door knob? $800.

Having a perfectly equipped media briefing room and never using it?

Certainly not priceless. If you’re an Australian taxpayer, the price was closer to $330,000.

That’s the amount of your money that the Department of Immigration and Border Control has spent on building a media briefing room in Canberra. The room has been sitting empty since its completion in October last year.

According to FOI documents obtained by AAP media:

Construction and fitout costs for the hitech room totalled almost $235,000 while the annual cost of having it on standby is running at close to $100,000.

Instead of using the expensive room, Immigration media briefings have been conducted in government offices in Sydney, in facilities at Parliament House, even in another room just across the road. Basically, anywhere except the room with the taxpayer-funded LED monitors, the taxpayer-funded podiums, the taxpayer-funded microphones, the taxpayer-funded projector, and . . . you get the point.

Apparently the government has signed a lease for the room until June 2016. That might just push the cost to the taxpayer over the half-a-million-dollar threshold.

Your tax dollars at work!

—William Shrubb, Research Assistant

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