Business Specialist CFP | Local Government Expert | Political Adviser
This letter to the Auditor General from Ian Ker is priceless.
The State Government’s handling of Royalties for Regions was found wanting by the Auditor General. There was no project selection criteria nor a business case made that funded projects would achieve long-term benefits. Sound familiar? Sounds like the Minister’s unfunded 12 two-page proposals for amalgamation of 30 councils to 15?
You be the judge. Here’s the letter:
Mr Colin Murphy
State of Western Australia
Dear Mr Murphy
I read with interest reports of your criticism of the WA Government’s management of the Royalties for Regions program – in particular the lack of proper assessment of costs and benefits before committing to specific projects.
One media report states that you found that “the Department of Regional Development didn’t have stringent project selection criteria and did not know if funded projects would achieve long-term benefits”.
I wonder whether your remit as Auditor General, “to scrutinise the public sector for potential instances of wastage, inefficiency or ineffectiveness”, might extend as far as to cover the current local government (so-called) reform process, where the Minister for Local Government has admitted that his proposals were made with no prior development of a business case and, even worse, that the Local Government Advisory Board would investigate the costs and advantages after the decision is made.
In other words, a commitment would be made to spend WA taxpayers’ and local government ratepayers’ money on projects (forced local government amalgamations) without stated selection/assessment criteria and without knowing if the funded projects would achieve long-term benefits.
If the Minister might be beyond your scrutiny, I respectfully suggest that his Department and the Local Government Advisory Board should not be.
I look forward to your response. As I am sure you will appreciate, this is a matter of some urgency, given the current stage of the so-called reform process.
Regards Ian Ker