Valuable items missing from Australian government offices


Melbourne : Hundreds of valuable items including laptops and monitors worth $500,000 have gone missing from government offices in the Australian state of Victoria in the past five years, it was revealed Wednesday.

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Public servants have lost or had stolen over $500,000 worth of computers – including 65 laptops and 24 monitors taken from a Country Fire Authority (CFA) warehouse in Knox. Total value of the 299 items missing since January 2006 has reached $550,258, according to The Age.

The laptops and monitors stolen from the CFA warehouse were valued at $130,000.

Responding to a parliamentary question, Victoria’s Police and Corrections Minister Bob Cameron said the warehoused laptops and monitors were stolen before they were deployed and “contained no software or data”.

Between January 2006 and October last year, almost $220,000 worth of computers were lost or stolen from the Energy Minister’s department.

Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor said in his response it was possible that some of the laptops had sensitive information on them but the computers were password-protected, meaning it was unlikely the information was accessed or compromised.

Staff at the Environment Protection Authority lost five laptops, with one lost within the authority, leading to a review of the agency’s policy allowing temporary access to the building.

Thirteen laptops worth $27,652 were lost from the Department of Sustainability and Environment. None were recovered.

Opposition spokeswoman on government waste watch and author of the parliamentary questions, Inga Peulich, said the incompetence of the Victorian government led by Premier John Brumby has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“That the laptops contain confidential and sensitive information is further evidence that John Brumby cannot be trusted to protect Victorians, and it is deeply disturbing that this information may have fallen into criminal hands,” she said.