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‘Extraordinary’: Taxpayers fork out $162k on two rugs

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
Australians will pay thousands for the new rugs. Images: Getty
Australians will pay thousands for the new rugs. Images: Getty

Australians will pay $162,000 to replace two rugs in Sydney’s Government House, with the Labor party describing the spending as out of touch during a recession.

The two rugs are by Perth designer Jenny Jones who has been contracted to provide the handwoven pieces for the historic residence.

The rugs are 58 and 19 square-metres, or $2,104 per square metre, and will replace two rugs purchased 13 years ago for $150,000.

Jenny Jones rugs as seen on her website.
Jenny Jones rugs as seen on her website.

According to Jones’ website, it can take as many as 180 people to make the rugs.

The high-profile residence is used for historic tours and diplomatic events, although has been shut to the public during Covid-19.

But Labor criticised the expenditure as unnecessary.

Government House, Sydney. Image: Getty
Government House, Sydney. Image: Getty

“These sorts of funds coming from the Department of Premier and Cabinet don't pass the pub test,” Labor Opposition spokeswoman Yasmin Catley told ABC News.

“It seems like an extraordinary amount of money to spend to replace rugs that are only 13 years old.”

She said taxpayers expect this sort of spending to be paused during a recession and a pandemic.

Additionally, Catley criticised the decision to contract a Western Australian designer over a local artisan.

"If it was so important that these rugs were to be purchased, then the least they could have done is purchase them from New South Wales instead of Western Australia to support local workers and manufacturers," she said.

NSW Governor Margaret Beazley and her husband currently reside in the 1845 home.

Spending scrutiny

The criticism comes amid heightened scrutiny of Government and public spending. Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate last week stood down over revelations that the business had spent $12,000 on four Cartier watches.

Days later, the deputy chair of the corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Daniel Crennan resigned after an audit raised concerns over $70,000 in expenses.

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