7 Mar 2012

New $230m police complex in Melbourne

Victoria Police will rehouse its crime and intelligence arms in a new $230 million high-rise complex to be built in Melbourne’s CBD, but neither the government nor the police service will end up taking ownership.

Acting Premier Peter Ryan says taxpayers will chip in $68 million towards the fit-out cost of the 12-storey building, due to be completed in 2015, with Victoria Police signing a 20-year lease with Cbus Property, the private consortium that owns it.

‘The current arrangement, I think, is absolutely admirable,’ he told reporters on Tuesday.

‘We’re making a contribution to a substantial fit-out. We will have a state-of-the-art facility … and we have an outcome that we think is utterly brilliant.’

But opposition police spokesman James Merlino says the project is underfunded, because the former Labor government earmarked $80.5 million for the project in the 2010 state budget.

‘We don’t have any new announcement … the reality is it’s two years late and underfunded by the tune of more than $12 million,’ Mr Merlino said.

The new building will bring together the state’s various crime department squads and task forces into one centre, as well as house the intelligence squad and Melbourne West police station.

It will have at least 27,000 square metres of office space, on the corner of La Trobe and Spencer streets where a disused post office centre currently stands.

The leased St Kilda Road complex, which houses most of the existing crime department, will be closed when all staff move into the new building. Space for a new 24-hour police station will be found elsewhere in the area.

Acting Police Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright said the new CBD building was in an ideal location, close to the freeway and the city’s legal precinct, with patrol cars also able to use surrounding tram routes during emergencies.

‘We can’t fit all the people we’ve got for much longer,’ he said of the current St Kilda Road complex.

‘And it just inhibits business when you’ve got various bits and pieces of the crime department spread all over the city. It just makes a lot more sense to put them all together.’

About 1600 staff will work in the new building, and Victoria Police will have an option to renew the lease contract after 20 years.

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