Coun­cil con­cern

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

WHIT­SUN­DAY Re­gional Coun­cil is be­lat­edly now pub­lish­ing the March Qld trea­sury ad­vice, have shown num­bers that are again to­tally in­con­sis­tent with the lat­est fi­nan­cials. Rather than be con­cerned about trash­ing lo­cal rep­u­ta­tions (that's al­ready hap­pened!), this should have been re­leased at that time.

Whilst an in­com­plete (and in­cor­rect) fi­nan­cial fore­cast is again clearly in ev­i­dence to make con­clu­sions of the sort made, we now find that over­spends had oc­curred with wa­ter and sew­er­age plants of ~&10m more. Th­ese have never been dis­closed over the last months and the con­cern is with the re­cent loss of now new ex­ec­u­tives, the over­spend may have gone fur­ther pear shaped, like the fi­nan­cial re­ports.

Fur­ther­more this con­fi­den­tial re­port now re­veals the 2012 NDRRA pro­gram had al­ready been cur­tailed from $85 to $48m (loss of $38m of avail­able grants), and by de­duc­tion, a De­cem­ber 2012 pre­pay­ment of ~$18m had also been added to the June 2012 $30m.

Both th­ese miss­ing "fi­nan­cial pearls" ex­plains a lot of the gaps in the gyrat­ing Monthly re­ports. As I re­marked in my dis­cus­sions with the CEO and Coun­cil­lor Wil­cox on Fri­day, less con­fi­den­tial­ity and more ac­cu­rate monthly fi­nan­cial re­ports to the pub­lic, will go a long way to cor­rect­ing the WRC cred­i­bil­ity gap.

Con­se­quently I gave Scott 16 draft ques­tions with the sup­port­ing ev­i­dence (which Scott has now copied to all Coun­cil­lors), and rec­om­men­da­tions to con­sider.

Past poor de­ci­sions, let­ting go key fi­nan­cial and en­gi­neer­ing ex­per­tise dur­ing the mid­dle of a $200-$300m cap­i­tal works pro­gram (that the com­mu­nity asked for), can­not be un­done.

But ac­tions by WRC now, can still ar­rest what is clearly ap­proach­ing more than dou­ble the over­spend of the $21m dis­closed in March and caus­ing the emo­tion we saw last week.

It is now in the hands of WRC, to stop my let­ters! John W Barnes BOWEN

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