Administrator’s Column – Extraordinary Council meeting Auditor General’s Report

Date

Friday, 4 June 2021

Release

I held an Extraordinary Council meeting on 1 June 2021 as it was my view that Council take the opportunity to place on the record its response to two key matters raised in the Auditor General’s qualified opinion outlined in the Report on Local Government 2020.

There is no question whatsoever that Central Coast Council deserves a qualified report given our current financial situation. However, the Audit Office in its report made some factually incorrect statements and assumptions that in my opinion required correction.

First and foremost, I can agree with the recommendation made for the Office of Local Government to clarify the legal framework relating to restrictions of water, sewerage and drainage funds.

However, I rebuke the finding in the report that Council ‘argued’ to change its policy on the use of restricted funds collected through water, sewage and drainage. This is an academic argument, the way the unrestricted funds were presented in the financial statements is not the way they were accounted for internally by the Council. The internal accounting was in line with the Local Government Act.

Until any legislative ambiguity is resolved Council will tie itself to the Clayton Utz advice regarding the treatment of water and sewer funds as restricted.

As a result of the findings, Council will implement reporting monthly, Profit & Loss Statements and cashflows both via our website and at Council meetings.

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Last updated : Wed 16 Jun 2021