Green thumbs and money trees at Australia Post
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Green thumbs and money trees at Australia Post

Spending at Australia Post seems to know no bounds.

Not content with shelling out $2.5 million a year in pay and bonuses for chief executive Christine Holgate – who spent about $300,000 on credit cards and chauffeurs in a year – the organisation's extravagant ways now include pot plants.

Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate.

Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate.Credit:Peter Rae

AusPost's expenditure on plants at 25 offices and facilities exceeds $700,000 over two years. To be precise: it spent $382,604 in the 2018/19 financial year and $378,240 in the 2019/20 financial year. From July to September this year it has spent $64,118.

The recipient of this largesse is the Frenchams group, which proudly tells customers it does so much more than "just arrange a few pot plants". "We transform office spaces into vibrant and innovative sanctuaries that employees look forward to working in, and clients can't stop talking about." Nor can AusPost's many critics.

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A spokeswoman said Australia Post's sustainability commitments meant it strived to achieve a "five star Green Star rating" from the Green Building Council of Australia. "As part of this rating tool a ratio of indoor plants is required to achieve Green Star credits, due to indoor plants' role in indoor environment quality in absorbing CO2 and emitting oxygen."

David Attenborough eat your heart out!

The information came to light after a request by Labor's shadow minister for government accountability, Kimberley Kitching. The senator had a novel suggestion on how to cut shrubbery spending. "RMIT offers a short course in traditional Japanese ikebana flower arranging. This is only a short stroll from Australia Post's Melbourne headquarters. Given Ms Holgate's penchant for all things floral, it might be a worthwhile investment," she said.

HOME & AWAY

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is still deciding weekend plans and whether he will make it up from Canberra to Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Sunday night to watch the NRL Grand Final.

But the PM is sending a representative to the other major sports event of the weekend, the AFL grand final at Brisbane's Gabba on Saturday night. Industry Minister and most importantly, Queenslander, Karen Andrews will be at the clash between the Geelong Cats and the Richmond Tigers.

Surprisingly, both teams will have plenty of supporters from their hometowns watching from the grandstands, given a dozen or so parents made the rat-run from Melbourne to Darwin to quarantine, before heading onto Brisbane for the finals.

Joel, Maree and Bryce Selwood.

Joel, Maree and Bryce Selwood.Credit:John Shakespeare

CBD spies on the Gold Coast have revealed that Geelong skipper Joel Selwood's parents Maree and Bryce have made it to Queensland in time to watch their third-born captain the Cats. Midfielder Cam Guthrie's parents Suzanne and Andrew also made the schlep north, as did Patrick Dangerfield's parents John and Jeannette. Fellow midfielder Sam Menegola's mum made it into Queensland in time, but his dad Shaun Menegola – Seven's Victorian news director – remains chained to the desk in the newsroom. Tough break.

But we digress. If the parents' dedication is impressive, what's even more notable is the conviction they had in their kids' abilities to make the grand final. After all, the two-week quarantine period meant that families had to make a call on leaving Victoria for the Northern Territory before the Cats were guaranteed a guernsey. For Geelong, that spot was decided last Saturday when they outmuscled the Brisbane Lions, 82 to 42.

There's no word yet on which Victorian supporters have headed north via Darwin to Sydney to watch the Melbourne Storm take on the Penrith Panthers in the NRL Grand Final. But one thing is for certain: Premier Daniel Andrews won't be there.

WE HEAR YOU

James Warburton, the remorselessly upbeat chief executive of Seven West Media, was in full flight at his network's 2021 programming showcase on Wednesday, where as well as announcing the return of Australian Idol, he indulged in the favourite executive pastime of media sectarianism.

"Let me assure you, from a company standpoint, we're in good shape," Warburton said. "If you read differently, perhaps take a closer look at who owns the publication that's obsessed with writing about us." We guess that must mean this publication, owned by Seven's fierce rival Nine.

Warburton has made limited progress paying down a mountainous debt pile, and enjoyed some ratings success, including Big Brother and SAS: Australia. But his comments seem overly sensitive for a man in his position. Take a chill pill buddy.

It appears that Warburton is still smarting from a column this masthead ran in February, which predicted that it would be impossible for him to succeed. It said the challenges facing his free-to-air television network would make success impossible for anyone. Warburton took the message to heart, pinning a copy to his office wall and telling visitors he was using it as his daily motivator.

JUST LIKE THE MOVIES

It sure is home improvement season in Sydney's inner west. And we couldn't go past former V8 racer Yanis Derums' ambitious plans to renovate his $7 million Birchgrove waterfront.

The professional ute-racer-turned-Mango Credit lender has just lobbed plans into the local council proposing a $1.9 million knock-down and rebuild job on the Louisa Road pile, including a home cinema on the mansion's lower level. He's tapped Connor and Solomon Architects to design the five-level home, which will sit within the existing home's footprint – with the addition of a new swimming pool and new pool deck overlooking the harbour.

Derums' Mango Credit specialises in small business loans but also operates across other asset classes, including home loans. It is currently fighting a case in the NSW Supreme Court against a Sydney mother Mary Saad who claims she was sold a dodgy loan by an agent purporting to work with Derums and his business. Derums has repeatedly said Mango had "no connection" with the "fraudulent broker".

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