Coun­cils called to ac­count

Canning Times - - NEWS - Jaime Shurmer

LO­CAL govern­ment au­dit­ing stan­dards were raised by law last week to lev­els more con­sis­tent with the public sec­tor.

Curtin Univer­sity Busi­ness School lec­turer Harj Singh said ratepay­ers were say­ing it was not enough for coun­cils to spend ac­cu­rately but also wisely.

Un­der the new laws and with the Of­fice of the Au­di­tor Gen­eral in­volved in au­dits, lo­cal govern­ments will need to show they are spend­ing money with econ­omy, ef­fec­tive­ness and ef­fi­ciency.

“No one in their right mind would say this is a bad thing be­cause it in­creases ac­count­abil­ity,” Dr Singh said.

He said lo­cal govern­ments had al­ways lagged way be­hind the public sec­tor in this area.

Coun­cils would now need to gen­er­ate key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors re­sult­ing in two an­nual re­ports.

Lo­cal Govern­ment Min­is­ter David Tem­ple­man wel­comed the Lo­cal Govern­ment Au­dit­ing Bill 2017 through the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil on Au­gust 28.

Un­der the leg­is­la­tion, lo­cal govern­ments will have to pub­lish an­nual re­ports, in­clud­ing au­dit re­ports, on their web­sites.

The leg­is­la­tion fol­lows re­cent in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the Cor­rup­tion and Crime Com­mis­sion over al­le­ga­tions of se­ri­ous mis­con­duct and cor­rup­tion.

It also re­sponds to rec­om­men­da­tions made by Par­lia­ment's Public Ac­counts Com­mit­tee.

The Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute of Aus­tralia (UDIA WA) called for the changes to go fur­ther and wants manda­tory per­for­mance re­port­ing on plan­ning mat­ters and de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tion schemes.

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