Council hoses down rich talk
TOWNSVILLE City Council has been l i s t ed among corporate giants BHP Billiton and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in a list of the nation’s biggest profit makers.
BRW’s latest report listed the council at number 12, based on the profit figure taken from its annual financial statements. Council was also ranked sixth on a list of companies with the biggest profit rises.
The council has hit back at the list, saying the business magazine’s reports were flawed.
Townsville City Council CEO Ray Burton said the reported profit was solely due to the amalgamation of assets of the former Townsville and Thuringowa councils and NQ Water.
‘ ‘ The BRW report has been roundly criticised by the local government industry for its poor research,’’ Mr Burton said. ‘‘ BRW compared the former Townsville City Council with the new Townsville City Council with all of the additional assets from Thuring o w a a n d N Q W a t e r , a n d incorrectly reported the difference as an increase in profit.
‘‘ It’s also wrong to compare Townsville with other councils when a malgamation b r o ught across expensive bulk water assets to the council here but not in other local government areas where they remained under the ownership of the state.
‘‘ To put it in perspective, the NQ Water assets, which include the Ross Dam, have a value of more than $ 1.5 billion.
‘‘ The reality is that for the reporting period in question, which was for the first fifteen-and-a-half months following amalgamation, the council recorded a $ 28 million operating deficit, which it has since slashed right back.’’
IBISWorld has been providing research to BRW for almost the entire 25-year lifespan of the list and the company’s economic research analyst, Asher Tan, said the 25th anniversary of the list was a testament to the popularity and authority of the list.
‘‘ The reason we’ve used a 2008-09 figure as opposed to a 2009-10 figure was down to publishing deadlines,’’ he said.
‘‘ The most recent annual report for the council was only available publicly in December whereas we had a November cut-off period for figures, ( but) based on the new figures, the council would still be ranked in a similar bracket.’’
Mr Tan said this was the first time council had been featured on the list. ‘‘ 2008-09 was the first full financial year where the Townsville City Council, Thuringowa City Council and NQ Water were amalgamated,’’ he said. ‘‘ This increased total revenue for the city to $ 402.2 m, up from $ 195.4 m the previous year.’’