Bid to ex­tend au­dit pow­ers

Pilbara News - - Election 2017 - Ali­cia Per­era

North West Cen­tral Greens can­di­date Carol Green is call­ing for re­form to the way in which lo­cal gov­ern­ment per­for­mance is re­viewed.

Ms Green said the Greens were seek­ing an amend­ment to the WA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act to ex­tend the pow­ers of the WA Au­di­tor-Gen­eral, re­spon­si­ble for au­dit­ing the fi­nances and ac­tiv­i­ties of most of the WA pub­lic sec­tor, to as­sess the per­for­mance of coun­cils rather than the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter.

She said the pro­posal had been sparked by res­i­dent con­cerns with some coun­cils within the North West Cen­tral area.

“There’s been some long-stand­ing is­sues from res­i­dents with con­cerns to do with a Shire in this area, and be­cause of it be­ing long­stand­ing I un­der­stand that my col­league Robin Chap­ple has raised the con­cern with the Min­is­ter for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment on sev­eral oc­ca­sions,” Ms Green said.

“It’s felt gen­er­ally that con­cerns are not be­ing taken se­ri­ously enough, and that in view of the length of time that it takes for any­thing to be done it might be bet­ter if the Au­di­tor Gen­eral, who car­ries out this sort of work all the time, might be bet­ter qual­i­fied to carry it out for lo­cal gov­ern­ment as well.

“The Au­di­tor-Gen­eral has the re­spon­si­bil­ity of au­dit­ing and mon­i­tor­ing all gov­ern­ment agen­cies, and the Greens would like to see this ex­tended to lo­cal gov­ern­ment.”

The State gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced a Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Amend­ment (Au­dit­ing) Bill in Au­gust last year aim­ing to im­prove ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency in the sec­tor, but it has not yet been passed.

Ms Green said a leg­isla­tive change would mean re­ports were in­de­pen­dent rather than politi­cised by who­ever was in gov­ern­ment, and al­low lo­cal gov­ern­ment is­sues to be promptly dealt with be­fore they caused fur­ther com­mu­nity prob­lems.

“In­creas­ing the pow­ers of the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral to in­clude lo­cal gov­ern­ment takes the power out of the min­is­ter’s hands and it en­sures that the process is com­pletely in­de­pen­dent, there­fore it de­politi­cises the process en­tirely,” she said.

“It just would seem that ap­proach­ing it in this way is a more ap­pro­pri­ate way to deal with con­cerns about any Shire that would also re­main very in­de­pen­dent of any sit­ting gov­ern­ment.”

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