Karratha embraces transparency plan
A State Government plan to put WA councils’ finances online in one place has been supported by the City of Karratha.
The Department of Local Government is working on a plan to put financial benchmarks on its website to show how councils measure up when it comes to their ability to repay debts, fund capital works and replace assets.
Over time, the website will include financial sustainability scores for each council, details of funds held in reserves and total rates revenue.
Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the City took financial responsibility and transparency seriously.
“While council supports the move to centralise and publish local government benchmarks, it is also important to recognise external factors beyond the control of councils such as grants and funding and that each local government operates within a unique economic environment,” he said.
A Shire of Ashburton spokeswoman said it was too early to have an official position on the plan yet.
Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said providing transparency was a key component of maintaining accountability.
“My department will be making information about the financial position of each local gover nment publicly available, so ratepayers can benchmark the performance of their council against other comparable councils,” he said.
WA Local Government Association president Lynne Craigie said the group would support moves to publish comparative data. However, she said any comparative system should include relevant details beyond the control of councils, such as increased government charges or cuts to grant funding.