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$20m green house for federal climate change bureaucrats

The Federal Government is spending more than $20 million fitting out a brand new Canberra high-rise to house bureaucrats tackling climate change.

The Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Department will move 750 of its bureaucrats into offices in the new building.

Due for completion next year, the NewActon Nishi building includes “electric car charging facilities”.

This comes as the Government is also spending $12 million on an advertising campaign for its carbon tax.

Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham yesterday said the Government seemed to have a “repetitive disregard for the value of taxpayers’ hard-earned money”.

But the department argues its current building is inadequate for accommodating staff and the new building will have the highest energy efficiency rating and reduce costs.

A spokesman for Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said bureaucrats moved into new accommodation under the Coalition government and “there is nothing different here”.

Meanwhile, a Deloitte Access Economics quarterly report released today says the impact of the carbon tax will be more muted than has been claimed.

“Although the eventual structural change in Australia’s economy will be large, the initial impact is unlikely to come with a bang,” the report says.

Yesterday a frustrated Mr Combet launched a stinging attack on Opposition leader Tony Abbott, accusing him of “months of deceitful campaigning” on the carbon tax.

He said the Opposition Leader was an “unprincipled opportunist” on the tax and described the Coalition’s Direct Action climate change policy as “rubbish” and “a joke”.

When asked if the Government had an alternative to its so-far unpopular carbon tax, Mr Combet expressed his frustration.

“Give us a break will you, God, this is such rubbish,” he told Channel 10.

Mr Abbott yesterday continued his tour of businesses to sell his mantra that the carbon tax will cost them.

He said Pharmacy Guild research suggested the tax would cost individual chemists at least $2000 a year.

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