Highlights of the 9 March 2021 Council Meeting

Date

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Release

Outcome of Forensic Audit

Council will continue to focus on implementing improvements in financial management and reporting following the conclusion of the legal and financial forensic analysis conducted by Clayton Utz.

The legal and financial analysis review has not identified any evidence that the Council’s current liquidity issues or use of restricted funds in breach of the Local Government Act was the result of corrupt conduct. 

Council engaged Clayton Utz on 26 October 2020, and Clayton Utz engaged KPMG to undertake a targeted forensic review of a sample fund to gain understanding of Council’s financial accounting practices and adherence to the Office of Local Government Guidelines.   Council’s Domestic Waste Fund was selected as a sample fund.

Director Corporate Affairs Natalia Cowley said that the scope of this forensic review was on reviewing a sample of actual financial transactions.

“Clayton Utz’s findings from the sampling of waste transactions reviewed did not identify any transactions allocated to the Domestic Waste Fund that were not consistent with guidance provided by the Office of Local Government,” said Ms Cowley.

Clayton Utz further stated that having regard to the reviews completed to date it would be reasonable for Council to conclude that further investigation would be unlikely to disclose any new or additional reasons for its current financial circumstances.   For this reason, no further forensic audit reports are recommended at this time.

Administrator Dick Persson AM said he believed this review drew a line under further investigation by Council.

“During the development of my 30-day Interim Report, the causes of the financial crisis became known, and the findings by Clayton Utz are generally consistent with my observations,” said Mr Persson.

“Their analysis agrees that the current financial circumstances appear to have arisen from legacy issues associated with financial systems, transparency from the time of Council amalgamation and poor financial management practices.”

“I see no value for the community in pursuing investigation after investigation, at the expense of Council resources actually getting on with implementing improvements in Council financial management.”

Council Code of Meeting Practice to improve decision making

Council has adopted a draft Code of Meeting Practice, which will go on public exhibition on 10 March 2021 for 42 days.

The draft Code proposes changes including:

  • the publication day of agenda papers to be changed
  • provide for the conduct of all Council Meetings at Wyong Administration Building
  • a requirement that Mayoral Minutes and Notices of Motion identify the source of funds where there is a financial impact
  • a requirement to consult with the CEO (or appropriate delegate) in preparing Mayoral Minutes or Notices of Motion to identify source of funds
  • a limit on the number of Notices of Motion to one per Councillor per meeting
  • a limit on the complexity and number of Questions with Notice to one per Councillor per meeting
  • a requirement that Councillors make reasonable efforts to attend pre-Meeting briefings.

The Code of Meeting Practice applies to all meetings of Council and Committees of Council of which the members are Councillors. The Code ensures transparent, informed and inclusive decisions are being made on behalf of the community, in a respectful, orderly and effective way.

Adopted Plans to help mitigate the risk of future flooding events.

Council has adopted two Flood Risk Management Study and Plans (FRMSP) for the Killarney Vale/Long Jetty and Wallarah Creek catchment areas.

The catchments include the suburbs of Bateau Bay, Shelly Beach, Long Jetty, Killarney Vale and sections of The Entrance, Blue Haven, Wallarah and Bushells Ridge as well as parts of Doyalson, San Remo, Charmhaven and Woongarrah.

Administrator Dick Persson AM said the adoption of the Plans do not have any immediate financial impact on Council.

“The purpose of these types of studies and plans is to provide options to better manage the existing, future and continuing flood risk,” Mr Persson said.

“This is done through various measures including helping to build community resilience, mitigation works, emergency management plans, flood warning processes, land use planning, and suitable design of infrastructure and buildings.

“Now these Studies and Plans have been adopted, the options identified are eligible for grant funding from the NSW Government, which typically require a one third funding commitment from Council.

“Many of the options identified here do not involve capital works, with 11 out of the 15 shortlisted recommendations for Killarney Vale/Long Jetty along with the five high priority options for Wallarah Creek only requiring staff resources to implement.”

Council secured funding from NSW Government to prepare the FRMP for the Killarney Vale/Long Jetty and Wallarah Creek catchments in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Wamberal progress report highlights where to next

Central Coast Council tonight received an update on the progress of terminal protection and sand nourishment options for Wamberal Beach.

The report highlighted the outcomes of the initial community engagement activities.

Council Administrator, Dick Persson AM, thanked the community for their ongoing involvement to find solutions.

“Coastal erosion is such an important issue, I’m thankful to our community who took the time to complete the survey and book in time to meet with our staff so that we can understand the community values moving forward with this project,” Mr Persson said.

“Our specialists, Manly Hydraulics Laboratory are continuing to undertake investigations and studies including the evaluation of five seawall design options. 

“Once we have the studies back from Manly Hydraulics Laboratory the next phase of community engagement, which will include workshops and the ability for the public to review and comment on the study reports, will be upcoming.

“I expect this will occur in the coming months.”

Council finalises Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement

Council has resolved to finalise a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement for two reserves in Glenning Valley which will create biodiversity credits to be sold to Transport for NSW (TfNSW).

The two reserves represent 80 biodiversity credits which can be sold to TfNSW for $1.52million.

TfNSW approached Council to establish a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement to offset biodiversity impacts from the widening of the Pacific Highway at Lisarow.

The agreement – which will be established without any direct cost to Council – would see Council retain the two reserves as green spaces.

Council resolves to include deferred Council owned land into Central Coast Local Environmental Plan

Council has completed the initial phase of its review of the Central Coast Environmental Lands with the recommended rezoning of Council owned land that had been deferred from inclusion in the Central Coast Local Environmental Plan (CCLEP).

It was resolved that all Council owned Coastal Open Space System (COSS) land be zoned to E2 Environmental Conservation, and that other Council owned land be rezoned to a Standard LEP zoning under CCLEP.

These lands now become part of the region-wide CCLEP, adopted on 14 December 2020, and help provide a consistent approach to the zoning and management of environmentally sensitive land across the entire Local Government Area.

Council Administrator, Dick Persson AM said the CCLEP was an excellent example of Council and the community working together to ensure that a well-considered and collaborative approach has been taken to lay the foundations of a region-wide planning roadmap.

“In December 2020, Council reached an important milestone with the adoption of the consolidated region-wide Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plan,” Mr Persson said.

“The decision to defer the rezoning of some lands, known as Deferred Matters lands, demonstrates that Council is listening, is keen to work with the community and that we are not imposing a one size fits all approach to development.

“With the rezoning of Council owned Deferred Matters lands, we are now one step closer to alleviating planning complexities and inconsistencies across the region”

Council will continue to evaluate the remaining 3,446 parcels of land with the aim to have this land rezoned by early 2022.

Council approves plaque for outstanding local volunteer

The voluntary service of Mr Robert Dowling will be acknowledged through a plaque on the base of an existing bench seat at Terrigal Haven.

Mr Dowling contributed greatly to the Terrigal Community Men’s Shed including involvement in extensive fundraising initiatives.

As is required under the Policy for Memorials, Naming of Council Facilities and Donations of Park Furniture and Trees, Mrs Mary Dowling will pay for the cost of purchase, installation and ongoing maintenance of the plaque for her late husband.

Rate

No votes yet

Comments

Add new comment

Last updated : Thu 11 Mar 2021