An independent report into Local Government financial reporting processes has found sound financial operations across 95% of the sector respondents.
Tabled in Parliament yesterday, the report revealed all but five of the 106 audits conducted by the Auditor General included clear audit opinions, with asset valuation processes the cause of those that were qualified.
WA Local Government Association President Mayor Tracey Roberts welcomed the largely positive outcome of the report and its acknowledgement of the demands requirements placed upon some smaller Councils.
“This report demonstrates that the Local Government sector is performing well in meeting their financial reporting requirements, with material matters for improvement in line with recommendations from other audits of listed companies,” Mayor Roberts said.
“We will be encouraging our members to refer this report to their Audit Committees, to enable consideration of recommendations in their own context.
“We are also pleased to note that the Auditor General has recognised the current reporting requirements for most small and medium Councils are too onerous and not currently applied in other states – in fact, they are more than is required of most State agencies.”
Mayor Roberts said although the report touched on suggestions to reduce audit costs, it did not define the change in costs of implementing the audit program through OAG.
“Many of our members have said their audit costs have almost doubled with the requirement to use the OAG for their audit processes,” Mayor Roberts said.
“We would have expected to see the report include an outline of these costs as means to further assess the benefits of this new program beyond the audit results themselves.”
Mayor Roberts said Local Governments embrace and support the importance of transparency and accountability and the Association will seek to meet with the OAG to further discuss opportunities to relieve the reporting burden for smaller Councils and reduce audit costs.