MEDIA RELEASE: Audit delivers positive outcome for Shire’s financial management

Published on Tuesday, 22 December 2020 at 9:53:33 AM

The Office of the Auditor General have given the Shire of Donnybrook Balingup a clean bill of financial management health after the recent completion of an unqualified audit for the 2019-2020 financial year.

AMD Chartered Accountants were appointed as the Shire’s Auditors for the 2019-2020 financial year. The Bunbury based firm deliver financial and auditing services to 25 local governments in Western Australia.

Earlier this year, the Australian Accounting Standards Board introduced significant accounting changes for all local governments. The changes were supplemented by last minute legislation announced by the WA State Government.

“Given the changes, the completion of the Shire’s full financial audit in a timely manner and with a clean bill of health is a positive outcome for the Shire,” said Shire of Donnybrook Balingup Chief Executive Officer Ben Rose.  

The audit identified no instances of non-compliance with Part 6 of the Local Government Act 1995, the Local Government (Financial Management) Regulations 1996 or applicable financial controls of any other written law identified during the course of the audit.

Shire President Brian Piesse said, “whilst the audit identified the Shire’s operations and processes are satisfactory in relation to financial management, the Shire has acknowledged and will address several strategic financial challenges going forward, namely the Asset Sustainability Ratio and the Operating Surplus Ratio.”

The Asset Sustainability Ratio is a measure of the Shire’s investment into asset maintenance and renewal. With approximately $250M in assets (buildings, roads, parks, heavy plant etc), renewing and maintaining those assets to contemporary standards requires significantly increased revenue. The Operating Surplus Ratio measures untied Shire funds available to be directed into capital works, projects or operating initiatives. A lower Operating Surplus Ratio can result from revenue deficiencies.

Chief Executive Officer Ben Rose said “Like most local governments across Western Australia, this Shire has revenue and asset sustainability challenges to address; a cursory glance across the finances of most local governments in Western Australia will identify the clear majority lack the required funds to renew and maintain assets to contemporary standards – and this challenge is magnified in regional and rural settings. For instance, this Shire owns or is responsible over 144 buildings - that is about one building for every 40 people in the Shire”.

Mr Rose stated, “a sincere vote of thanks must be shared with the staff and members of the Shire’s Audit and Risk Management Committee involved in this outcome – an outcome to be proud of”.

Mr Piesse advised “with an average rate increase over the past three years of only 2.3%, the Shire must review its rating strategy going forward if it is to maintain the liveability of its townsites and surrounds on behalf of the community it serves”.

The Shire of Donnybrook Balingup 2019-2020 Annual Report, including financials, will be available to view ahead of the Annual General Meeting of Electors to be held in January 2021.

…Ends…

For further information and images please contact Karis Aplin, Communications Officer, Shire of Donnybrook Balingup, 9780 4200, karis.aplin@donnybrook.wa.gov.au

VIEW THE 2019-2020 ANNUAL REPORT

 

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