Gympie Regional Council Financial Management Review Report
Click here to view the Financial Management Review Report.
Comments from Mayor Glen Hartwig regarding the report.
The report was commissioned as we (Council) needed to fully understand our financial issues.
The report was conducted by CPA Australia to ensure it was an independent, honest look at our current situation.
To have a document like this, especially during a time where we are in a tough financial position and currently working on the next financial year’s budget, is invaluable.
This is about improving the organisation. It’s about understanding so we can better support and help our staff do the job we know they want to do.
Now we have a starting point; a line in the sand. It’s time to change the way we do things and think about our budget process. The information is confronting and I want to congratulate the staff who were interviewed or took part as we know this wasn’t easy. They were honest about the issues that they see and the report reflects this. It’s obvious that staff want to see these changes made too. Councillors appreciate their effort to help us get back on track.
The picture is not great, but it gives us clarity. If we don’t acknowledge the issues, we can’t address or fix them.
I commend the Acting CEO for this work which has given us a clear understanding, and we will make better decisions for the future of our region.
It’s just as important that our residents have this information. We’ll make sure we have this document on our website for everyone to access. Ratepayers own this organisation and you need to be aware of its condition.
We want openness and transparency. This is what we’re dealing with and in four years’ time, the community can judge whether we have addressed the priority areas that we know the community need. We may make mistakes, and if we do, we need to tell people.
The standards of the past are not good enough and our financial position reflects that. Gympie Regional Council was once the most sustainable council in Queensland, it is time to reapply the principles and actions that had this council in such an enviable position.
To be honest, the results in this report will not be a surprise for some who have voiced concerns in the past.
This council has already taken steps to remedy these issues but the pathway back is long and difficult, there is no quick fix.
Again councillors appreciate the honesty of staff. Council cannot make the changes without your input and assistance.
Mayor Glen Hartwig.
There are many moments in life that stand out for all of us. Last week was one for myself when during the ordinary meeting on Wednesday, councillors were told by the Acting CFO,
“When Council adopted its budget for the 2019-2020 financial year, it forecast insufficient cash reserves at years’ end to maintain business operations.”
This comment stopped me in my tracks as we were never told this information, at any stage, during our budget deliberations for the 2019-2020 financial year. To hear this now is both frustrating and more than disappointing. I often use the metaphor of the titanic, but it’s how we as councillors feel and I’m sure how you as residents feel; we knew the iceberg was coming and did nothing about it.
And you’ve got to ask the question, why weren’t we told?
The most frustrating part is that the fallout and repercussions are huge. You can’t get past the basic fact that, had we known and addressed our financial issues back then, we wouldn’t be in the financial mess we are in now where budget cuts are not just a necessity, they are unavoidable.
Councillors continue to work on the budget and look at all options on how we can repair the damage, and we will, but it’s going to take time and we need to earn your trust by our actions.
We are on the right path, and will take another step on Thursday. A special meeting has been called to consider the appointment of a new CEO. And we will announce any decisions made as soon as we are able. There are exciting changes ahead, and a new direction for your Council.