It took 15 years to decide on the construction of an embassy residence on a plot of land rented by the Republic in Canberra, and while the procedures for launching the project were launched, the coronavirus pandemic “struck”, leaving another two years after the decision, without doing anything. The project went on the ice and the Republic, having no other choice, continues to rent a house to house the ambassador.
The plot was leased to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2004. From 2011 until 2018 it was considered unsuitable for development as lead had been found in the subsoil of the area. It is one of the most toxic metals which creates serious health problems in humans over time. The competent services of the Australian government informed in 2018 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that based on the research-study they carried out, this piece can be developed. The results of the survey were sent to other countries, as the area in Canberra was leased by the Australian government for long-term lease for the construction of embassy houses. The Republic of Cyprus has owned this plot since 2004 with a long-term lease for a period of 99 years. The first reports of lead in the subsoil were made in 2011. For this plot, in 2004 an amount of 800,000 dollars was paid. The total cost for the construction of the embassy house of 300 sq.m. It is noted that there were cases of countries, such as Qatar, which requested the release of the land and the sale of the lease rights to the Australian government.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the Department of Public Works, prepared the project note which it submitted to the Directorate-General for European Programs, Coordination and Development. The relevant department replied that the project meets all the basic pre-selection criteria in relation to its initial viability and sent the matter to the budget department of the Ministry of Finance in order to examine whether it is affordable. During a meeting held at the Ministry of Finance on 1/7/2019 to discuss the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was agreed to include the estimated amount in the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the year 2020.
As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had in its budget for the year 2019 the necessary credits for the preparation of the studies, a letter was sent on 16/7/2019 to the Ministry of Transport with the request that it competently takes the appropriate actions to start the project as soon as possible. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a second letter of reminder on 17/2/2020 to the Ministry of Transport, requesting that it take the appropriate action as soon as possible to start the project. However, the coronavirus pandemic froze the project until recently.
It is worth mentioning that from 2004 until today, rents in excess of € 1 million have been paid for the embassy residence used by the Republic today. Amount by which the Republic could erect a privately owned building on another plot.