New Queensland Government Tries to Save $100 Million by Removing Tea, Coffee from Pantry

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By Vittorio Hernandez | May 18, 2012 12:55 PM EST

Although Queensland state public employees could still take their morning and afternoon tea break, under cost-cutting measures initiated by the new state government, they must bring their own tea and coffee sachets.

The belt-tightening measure seeks to save the state government $100 million. Other measures to reduce costs include the removal of indoor plants from some departments and an order to step serving food at meetings. However, the caterers would still serve tea, coffee and orange juice during official meetings and functions.

The ultimate goal of these corner-cutting initiatives is to reduce Queensland's $85 billion debt left by the administration led by past Premier Anna Bligh.

If the costs are not reduced, directors-generals will be held accountable by the new Queensland government. The spokeswoman of new Premier Campbell Newman said all ministers were ordered to spend wisely taxpayers' money, but assured state employees it did not put in place tea police.

The cost cutting on plants was made after records show that Queensland spent in the last financial year more than $900,000 on plants billed by state-run nursery GoPlants.

However, private plant contractors questioned the removal of plants, citing studies that indoor plants improve productivity by 12 per cent. Besides cutting GoPlant's lifeline, the Queensland government which took over from the previous Labor-led administration, also cut by half the budget allocation for private plant contractors.

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