Consideration of Auditor-General Report 18: 2018-19—Local government entities: 2017-18 results of financial audits (LAPSED) — 56th Parliament


Role of the Auditor-General

The role of the Auditor-General is to provide Parliament with independent assurance of public sector accountability and performance. This is achieved through reporting to Parliament on the results of its financial and performance audits.

About the Auditor-General Report

View:Auditor-General Report 18: 2018-19—Local government entities: 2017-18 results of financial audits

The report summarises the financial audit results of the 77 local governments in Queensland for the year ended 30 June 2018, as well as examining the financial results of the 83 entities controlled by Queensland local governments.

The report found 74 of the 77 councils had met the relevant deadline for finalising their financial reports, and that councils are continuing to reduce the time take to finalise their financial statements. The QAO reported that there is some room for improvement in terms of the processes and accuracy of financial statements, including in relation to the reporting of assets, the accuracy of which could be improved by ensuring asset registers are complete.

In terms of the overall operating results of councils, the report highlights the significant impact of a delay in the release of financial assistance grants from the Federal Government. While noting some improvements in the management of loans and identification of future liabilities, the QAO reported that long-term financial sustainability remains a major risk for many councils. The QAO also identified room for improvement in terms of the internal controls and governance of councils, including risk management and planning processes, and appropriate approvals and reviews. With respect to controlled entities, the QAO noted that audited financial statements are not publicly available for 34 entities of the 83 controlled entities, which limits the scope for their performance to be assessed.

The report makes eight recommendations in total – four recommendations to the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs (DLGRMA) and four recommendations to councils. DLGRMA expressed in-principle support for recommendations one and two and supported recommendations three and four, advising work was under way to implement them. DLGRMA supported the recommendations made to councils. 

Torres Shire Council, the only council who provided a response to the QAO’s recommendations, provided some clarifying commentary regarding the QAO’s comments on the Council’s accounting system in an earlier version of the report.

Referral to Committee 

Standing Order 194B provides that the Committee of the Legislative Assembly shall as soon as practicable after a report of the Auditor-General is tabled in the Assembly refer that report to the relevant portfolio committee(s) for consideration. 

The committee is responsible under section 94 of the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001 for assessing the integrity, economy, efficiency and effectiveness of government financial management by examining government financial documents and considering reports of the Auditor-General.

The Committee of the Legislative Assembly referred this Auditor-General’s report to the committee on 16 May 2019 for consideration.

Referral Lapsed

The 56th Parliament has been dissolved by proclamation dated 6th October 2020.  Following the dissolution of the Parliament, Auditor-General reports referred to portfolio committees must be re-referred to a portfolio committee in the new Parliament by the Committee of the Legislative Assembly.

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