Kar­ratha em­braces trans­parency plan

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr and Kate Emery

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.

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