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ADF top brass get $14,000 coffee machine for their VIP airport lounge

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The Franke Pura coffee machine: $12,963 plus installation.
The Franke Pura coffee machine: $12,963 plus installation.

The Defence Department has hit taxpayers with a $14,000 bill for a coffee machine at the Air Force's "VIP Terminal" in Canberra.


Force Command splashed out for the deluxe unit in June, paying Sydney outfit Coffee Machines and Beans $13,941 for the machine and installation.

Some public service departments insist their employees bring their own tea or coffee to work if they want to have a cuppa during work hours.

But Defence said the purchase was quite routine, as the machine at Defence Establishment Fairbairn, where the top brass takes off and lands when they are flying internationally or within Australia, had worn out and the purchase was in line with official procurement rules.

The news of the high-end coffee machine for Defence's high-flyers comes days after Fairfax revealed taxpayers had been slugged nearly $100 million in travel bills by Defence in just four months in late 2015 and early 2016.

The spending included more than $4.4 million on taxis, and another $4 million on car hire.


Coffee machines in the broader federal public sector have also been controversial for some time.

In 2013, the Coalition, then in opposition complained bitterly against "gold-plated" coffee machines purchased by the public service.

Defence would not say what type of machine it had installed at its VIP lounge at Defence Establishment Fairbairn, where high-ranking defence force officers take off and land when they are flying internationally or within Australia, but it is understood to be the Pura model from Swiss industrial manufacturing giant Franke.

"The Pura is the perfect choice as the professional's all-in-one solution. Ideal for gastronomy, catering/canteen, take-away and office environments, the Pura can deliver up to 150 cups a day," the machine's marketing material states.

"It's just the thing for establishments seeking to offer more than standard black and white coffee beverages."

A Defence spokeswoman issued a brief statement in response to Fairfax's questions.

"A coffee machine was purchased for the Air Force passenger lounge at RAAF Fairbairn, ACT," the spokeswoman said.

"It replaces an old machine which had exceeded its service life and was malfunctioning.

"The procurement process was conducted in accordance with Defence purchasing policies."