A review of Gympie Regional Council’s budget revealed ‘several anomalies’ that resulted in millions of dollars being shuffled between asset classes, and raised questions about its depreciation spending.
A review of Gympie Regional Council’s budget revealed ‘several anomalies’ that resulted in millions of dollars being shuffled between asset classes, and raised questions about its depreciation spending.

Budget ‘anomalies’ raise more questions about Gympie council

GYMPIE Regional Council’s past financial practices will again be in the spotlight after a review of budget raised new questions.

Council staff said the review was carried out to determine what unfinished capital works projects were expected to be completed this financial year.

During the review staff said “several anomalies” were noted regarding funding sources for a number of its asset categories.

“These anomalies have resulted in particular asset classes requiring internally sourced “funds” to be reallocated from other asset classes”, staff said.

This included a $3.5 million contribution to its roads and bridges; while $20 million in spending is earmarked in the budget, there was only $17 million in depreciation and external funding provided.

Mayor Glen Hartwig and Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon are now overseeing the delivery of a $42 million budget – and questions remain about how it will be delivered.
Mayor Glen Hartwig and Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon are now overseeing the delivery of a $42 million budget – and questions remain about how it will be delivered.

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In other areas the council was spending less than it had the funding for.

This included water, sewerage and building areas, with each contributing more than $3 million to other areas of the council’s budget.

The staff report also highlighted the council was not spending all of its depreciation funding on its assets.

Water Business Unit staff also identified $1 million in “emergent risk” projects “critical” to sustaining its operations.

However, staff said a juggle of priorities within the water services meant these would only cost the council $179,000 to deliver.

All up the capital works budget has increased to $42 million; a program which brings other challenges.

“While this level of capital expenditure is within Council’s financial capacity to deliver, cash

balances will require close monitoring leading up to the timing for the second rates issue in

February 2021,” staff said.

“Concerns also remain over Council’s ability to physically deliver the envisaged program of works against the agreed completion target of 90 per cent.”