The Gympie Regional Council have been given the thumbs up from the QAO despite a decline in some key performance criteria.
The Gympie Regional Council have been given the thumbs up from the QAO despite a decline in some key performance criteria. Renee Albrecht

Glowing review for council despite slight performance drop

GYMPIE Regional Council has received a glowing review from the Queensland Audit Office despite a decline in some key performance categories.

In a local government financial audit tabled to parliament last week, the Queensland Audit Office rated Gympie council as financially viable, but noted their average operating surplus ratio and net financial liabilities ratio were in decline.

This is the second year in a row that council's average operating surplus has dropped, from 5.26 percent in the 2014-2015 financial year to 2.4 percent in 2016-2017.

Despite some expensive projects in the pipeline, council said it had planned for the decrease in surplus in their approach.

"The operating surplus is reviewed annually as part of the council budget process, with priority given to long term financial sustainability," a council statement read.

"Each year council staff work with council to understand their priorities regarding project and programs, with a view to maintain a small financial surplus.

"All projects are budgeted and endorsed by council as part of the budget deliberations against the corporate plan."

The audit also identified significant deficiencies in council's Control Activities, which are the policies and procedures that ensure any identified risks are addressed.

Control Activities are designed to prevent or detect errors from entering financial systems.

It is the first time in at least three years that the QAO has found any deficiencies in the council's processes.

Council said corrective action has been taken.

"The audit office identified significant deficiencies in our Control Activities: regularity of asset reconciliation process and the capitalisation of our work in progress.

"Despite receiving a high risk assessment in this activity, corrective action taken by staff resulted in an unqualified audit opinion by the Queensland Audit Office.

"Since the auditors were on site, officers had already undertaken remedial action and anticipated a lower risk assessment in the 2017-2018 audit.

"Council takes its responsibility of a strong control environment seriously," a statement read.