MidCoast Council responds to ‘unsurprising’ State Audit

‘UNSURPRISING’ was one way to describe the findings of the audit report recently carried out by the NSW Audit Office into financial management and governance performance at MidCoast Council.

“Many of the report’s issues reflect the discussions we had with the performance audit team prior to the audit,” Adrian Panuccio, MidCoast Council General Manager said.

Ede's Real EstateAdvertise with News of The Area today.
It’s worth it for your business.
Message us.
Phone us – (02) 4981 8882.
Email us – media@newsofthearea.com.au

Mr Panuccio added that the audit’s recommendations were “consistent with the improvement path Council had been on since early 2021”, potentially indicating that no further changes may result, after all.

Mr Panuccio sought wins where possible, such as, “The report highlights that our financial governance has progressively improved, which is a positive reflection on the work we have done to continually review and improve our financial and governance systems and processes.”

Less favourable elements were rationalised as being the result of the audit’s “narrow focus”, and the “missed opportunity for it to provide significant value to the local government sector by taking a wider view”.

“Generally, when a performance audit is undertaken, a number of councils are reviewed, to be able to draw comparisons and identify common issues and challenges,” Mr Panuccio explained.

“In this case the Audit Office chose to conduct an audit over a single council which doesn’t, in our view, deliver the same benefits of comparing the situation and challenges in different types of Councils.”

Mr Panuccio said Council had put their objection to this approach on record.

The report acknowledged the significant challenges at MidCoast Council in the wake of the 2016 forced merger, which required transitioning and consolidating four separate financial management systems into one.

Mr Panuccio sought support from the MidCoast Council Audit Risk and Improvement Committee, an independent review and advisory body, and Committee Chair Stephen Coates claimed to be comforted that Council was “doing things the best way they can for their communities” despite opportunities for improvement.

MidCoast Council’s full response to the audit report, along with the audit report, can be found at https://www.audit.nsw.gov.au/our-work/reports/financial-management-and-governance-in-midcoast-council.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Leave a Reply