State Opposition criticises City of Perth audit proposal

City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi.
City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi.

THE City of Perth’s proposed audit is not enough to address the problems dogging Perth Council, according to the State Opposition.

Last week, the City announced an independent audit of its “operations, systems and procedures”.

It has been under fire for more than a year over undeclared gifts and a ban on councillors speaking to the media.

MORE: City of Perth councillors breached act by accepting Hopman Cup gifts

City of Perth chief executive Martin Mileham said he expected the audit “would be conducted by a well-known advisory firm following a rigorous tendering process”.

At the most recent Perth Council meeting, council voted unanimously to appoint Patrick Warr, of Grant Thornton, as the City’s auditor for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Among other things, Mr Mileham said the audit “represents the shared goal of the City’s administration and council to deliver the highest standards of transparency, governance and value for money for our ratepayers, stakeholders and the broader community”.

“We will ask for a review of procurement processes, compliance with legislation, governance and decision-making processes, finance and financial systems, business structure and performance measurement, and reporting processes.”

Opposition Local Government spokesman David Templeman said the audit does not go far enough to address the City’s transparency and accountability problems.

“The City’s representatives opposed any proposals to increase transparency which were requested at last year’s WALGA Conference,” he said.

“If the Government had got its act together and provided some priority to the Bill languishing in Parliament, which proposes the Auditor General audit local councils, we might see some progress with regard to this concern.

“Independent audits overseen by the Auditor General are the best way forward to address this issue.”

Asked if the proposed audit addressed the concerns surrounding the City and if it set an example other local governments should follow, Local Government Minister Paul Miles said it was a matter for the department.