Sale of office block not that daunting

THE State Office Block in Penrith may be on the market but Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce president Peter McGhee doesn't believe its sale will be detrimental to the area.

When the State Government announced it was offloading the building, Penrith councillor Prue Car was vocal in her concern that the loss of government departments would result in a loss of employment opportunities for residents.

Yet Mr McGhee was certain the sale would only result in one small change and it wouldn't jeopardise any jobs in the building.

"The sale of that building won't interfere with the government agencies already there," he said.

"All that will happen is the landlords will change.

"Someone else will own the building but they're not going to kick out the tenants so the jobs will still be the same."

While the building is a prominent employment hub in Penrith, Mr McGhee said he wasn't surprised to see it adopt the "for sale" status.

"I can understand the position the State Government is in," he said. "If they don't get a great deal of return on capital coming out of that building they're better off using those funds to put money into something else that can get better social and economic outcomes."

Mr McGhee said the chamber of commerce wasn't overly fussed about money from the sale being directly injected back into Penrith.

"We don't need to compartmentalise things but we do expect in the longer term the government to make capital contributions to support growth in Penrith," he said. "There's expectation from the government that Penrith will accommodate additional houses and jobs but that growth can't happen unless supported by investment in infrastructure."

Encouraging the government to relocate government departments to Penrith is one of the chamber's policies and Mr McGhee said it was crucial in ensuring the skills possessed by Penrith residents remain in the local workforce.

"It's the way of overcoming that problem of all those skills leaving Penrith each morning to drive into the city," he said. "If you bring 100 government employees, you might find it will generate an additional 30 or 40 jobs to service those people. It has the multiplier effect of doing that."

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