The Andrews government plans to sell the Ballarat GovHub site in a deal that will see the new public service building leased back to the state.
The massive $100 million construction project currently underway is one of the government's key planks at reviving the Ballarat CBD and boosting decentralisation of the government workforce by placing 1000 jobs in the multistory building adjoining the Civic Hall .
The shock announcement that it would sell the crown land and then re-lease it for the GovHub comes after a subdivision was granted in March to separate Civic Hall land from the GovHub portion by the Office of Surveyor General Victoria.
A spokesperson for Development Victoria, the body responsible for the project, confirmed the planned sale and said the purpose of the sale was cost recovery.
"There will be an expression of interest called to find an appropriate buyer for the Ballarat GovHub, to allow the government to recover the costs of its development and fund other community and civic projects," a statement read.
When the GovHub is complete at the end of 2020, the Government will enter into a long-term lease arrangement with the eventual owner of the GovHub.
It is not believed the central Ballarat library, the other key facility on the major CBD block and managed by the council, is part of the designated Gov Hub site.
Whether the builder of the project, Kane Nicholson Joint Venture, will enter into the sale process is not yet known.
Development Victoria will manage the sale process but would not give a timeline on the sale, claiming protection of commercial-in-confidence and giving equal opportunity for all prospective buyers.
But not everyone is happy with the sale.
One government source who spoke to The Courier said the state government was keen to strip assets from the books in the face of projected decreased revenue from future budgets.
"There are a few ministers who are mad for PPP's (Public, Private Partnerships)," the source said.
"They can't see past them. It's like they learned nothing from the Kennett era."
Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison did not respond to questions by the time The Courier published.
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