ATO on the move

THERE will be plenty of comings and goings at the Northbridge branch of the Australian Tax Office during the next six months.

An intricate plan to consolidate the ATO’s three offices at the same time the new headquarters is undergoing refurbishment is about to move into full swing.

According to WA ATO assistant commissioner John Deuchar, the relocation and refurbishment program will be run concurrently and will lead to a significant amount of movement within the office before staff are finally settled in May next year.

As the new headquarters prepares to welcome staff from the soon-to-be-closed Cannington branch, Northbridge divisions will be farewelled for short-term relocations to Cannington or Parmelia House to allow the renovations to take place.

And, as new tenancies are found for other government agencies located at the Northbridge site, such as the Department of Immigration, their areas will be refurbished and Cannington staff gradually move in.

With renovations completed on half a floor and another one-and-a-half floors now under way, the first Cannington staff will be arriving in Northbridge in a matter of weeks.

To accommodate the additional staff in the five-storey Northbridge operation, Mr Deuchar said the ATO had revised its work practices and examined the new ways people were doing business.

“We have 21,000sqm of space in Cannington and four floors in Parmelia House and we want to put it all into Northbridge, which is only 21,000sqm,” he said.

“This has meant we have to look at the way we operate and the fit-outs of our offices to make it possible. For example, we have a lot of field staff now and they will only be in the office perhaps one day a week, so we now have a lot of shared work stations.”

Mr Deuchar also noted many people preferred to do business over the telephone, so call centre operations had been extended.

The decision to close the Cannington branch was made two years ago based on significant savings in lease-holdings and a perceived benefit in keeping all ATO operations together.

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