In real estate terms, you could call the Prime Minister’s official residence in Canberra, The Lodge, a fixer upper.
The other term home renovators would use is the money pit, with The Australian reporting that the cost of renovations to the “possum-infested” home are now double the original estimate, blowing out to a whopping $6.4 million.
Some $3.19 million worth of work on the 88-year-old, 800sqm, 40-room Georgian-style home began in September 2013 and was due to be completed by mid 2014. It was commissioned by the former ALP government, but on December 12, the Abbott government signed off on changes to the contract, adding another 12 months to the completion date and upping the price tag to $6.38 million.
The cost is 50% more than knocking down the Heritage-listed building and starting again, one quantity surveyor claims.
A Finance Department spokeswoman would not comment on the reasons for the blow out, telling The Australian: “The cost estimates are commercial-in-confidence as the release of the information could prejudice financial outcomes during negotiations.”
In the meantime, PM Tony Abbott continues to stay in a $110-a-night room at the Australian Federal Police College, having knocked back a $3000-a-week rented house, costing taxpayers $65,000 to terminate the lease.