Just last week, Auditor-General Office stated in its report for Financial Year 2015/2016 that there had been inadequate assessment on the reasonableness of the consultancy fee of $410,000 quoted for the construction of a bin centre built by the National Arts Council (NAC) for the Victoria Theatre/Victoria Concert Hall (VT/VCH)
AGO observed that NAC had directly engaged the VT/VCH consultants to provide additional consultancy services amounting to $410,000 for the construction of a bin centre, without first conducting a cost assessment to ascertain the reasonableness of the fee quoted.
AGO wrote that the fee was exceptionally high at 87.2 per cent of the construction cost, $470,000 and that there was no assurance that the fee paid by NAC was reasonable.
The $410,000 consultation fees on top of the $470,000 construction fees, means that the bin centre costs in total, a whopping $880,000.
So what bin centre is it that cost nearly to one million dollars?
Given that the AGO identified the bin centre being built for VT/VCH, one would assume that the bin centre was built inside the VT/VCH.
But a look at its floorplan shows you that there is no bin centre situated inside the building.
As you walk around the building, bins can be seen at a spot. But the room that the bins are placed in front of, is not the bin centre.
So where is this bin centre located at? Guess what? It is located at the side of Asian Civilisation Museum. (see picture below)
For better orientation, refer to the map below.
Going back to the AGO report, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), which oversees the NAC, said that the high consultation fee of $410,000 was down to the fact that “the construction of the bin centre for this project was more complex and required significantly more design expertise, technical consultancy services and effort to coordinate with multiple parties”.
But the AGO noted that these reasons were not cited in the approval paper for the drawdown of funds.
So looking at the photo below, which shows the bin centre in its former state and comparing it with the new one that is being built. How “complex”, “more design expertise”, and technical consultancy is needed to do the modifications?
All in all, the bin centre had the same design to match the Asian Civilisation Museum and just got upgraded to cover more area so that the bins can be hidden from sight.
The interesting thing is that the bin centre is likely not to be used only by VT/VCH but also the Asian Civilisation Museum and the Art House at Old Parliament house.
So how is the $880,000 spent on the bin centre justified?