Consideration of Auditor-General Report 2: 2019-20—Managing the sustainability of local government services (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 2: 2019-20—Managing the sustainability of local government services 

The report summarises the Queensland Audit Office’s (QAO) audit of five Queensland councils on their management of the financial sustainability of the services they deliver. The QAO also included the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs (DLGRMA) in the audit as it provides support and advice to councils and also provides the operating framework through legislation and regulation that aims to improve councils’ accountability, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. The report examined the councils’ service planning for their communities, their understanding of the value communities obtain from services, their understanding of the full cost of providing the services, and their monitoring and reporting on service performance to identify opportunities to improve service efficiency and effectiveness.

The QAO found each of the audited councils had some of the organisational elements necessary to effectively plan and deliver their collective services to support long-term sustainability, but that none of the councils had all of the components working together. The QAO also identified opportunities for councils to work together and with DLGRMA to share ways to plan services, allocate costs and measure performance.

The report makes six recommendations to the five audited councils which are to apply to all councils in Queensland, and two recommendations to DLGRMA for the development of supporting frameworks, documents and measures, to assist councils in improving their financial sustainability. Four of the audited councils provided feedback on the QAO’s recommendations, outlining varying levels of agreement with the recommendations and identifying challenges for implementation in some instances. DLGRMA committed to implementing the two recommendations directed at the department by expanding the guidance materials it provides to councils and investigating opportunities to expand benchmarking support, as well as facilitating the continued exchange of knowledge and resources through local government forums.    

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 17 October 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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