Poor per­for­mance

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

I RE­FER to last week’s front page story about Whit­sun­day ratepay­ers fac­ing a ma­jor projects levy of $140 or sig­nif­i­cant rate rises (Whit­sun­day Times 11 July 2013).

Any­one who has not al­ready done so should get on­line and read the Queens­land Trea­sury Cor­po­ra­tions’s Fi­nan­cial As­sess­ment of the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil and its cur­rent fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion. The re­port makes for sober read­ing with coun­cil ap­par­ently need­ing ac­cess to emer­gency loan fund­ing of up to $25M in or­der to main­tain its fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity.

The rea­sons given for coun­cil’s dire fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion in­clude ‘poor gov­er­nance and man­age­ment’ of cap­i­tal works projects, ‘cost over­runs’ and ‘con­cur­rent sched­ul­ing’ of ma­jor projects in­clud­ing the new wa­ter treat­ment plants in Bowen and Proser­pine, the new sew­er­age treat­ment plants in Cannonvale and Proser­pine and the Air­lie Beach main street up­grade.

How­ever a fur­ther rea­son and ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the prob­lem seems to be the $18M worth of “re­pair works” car­ried out by coun­cil as part of the Nat­u­ral Disas­ter Re­lief and Re­cov­ery Ar­range­ment that were out of scope for this scheme and there­fore in­el­i­gi­ble for re­con­struc­tion fund­ing. From my read­ing of the sit­u­a­tion it seems that th­ese work were not re­pairs but im­prove­ments.

Be­fore slug­ging ratepay­ers with the pro­posed levy or rate rises in or­der to pay for past mis­man­age­ment, I think coun­cil should pro­vide a full and frank ex­pla­na­tion as to what went on, how it was al­lowed to oc­cur and what has been done to pre­vent any re­peat? Four of the cur­rent mem­bers of coun­cil were part of the pre­vi­ously elected ad­min­stra­tion un­der which what can only be de­scribed as mis­man­age­ment oc­curred. I think they owe it to ratepay­ers to pro­vide an ex­pla­na­tion. An­thony O’Rourke AIR­LIE BEACH

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