The Auditor-General, Ms Margaret Crawford from the Audit Office of NSW has given the tick of approval to Bayside Council’s 2019-20 financial statements, making it one of the first councils in the state to pass this year’s auditing process.
Bayside Council is in a strong financial position and its audited accounts for 2019/2020 received the independent tick of approval from the Auditor General, Ms Margaret Crawford from the Audit Office of NSW at last night’s Council meeting.
The Auditor General and the Audit Director Ms Karen Taylor from the Audit Office of NSW both attended the Council Meeting to present the auditor’s report on Council’s financial position in person to acknowledge the work done by the staff to deliver a clear audit opinion on the 2019/2020 annual financial statements.
“It has been a challenging year for us all. Councils have faced many operational challenges in the face of COVID-19 and this council had the added challenge of addressing issues from previous disclaimers of audit opinions,” she said.
“So, tonight I am really pleased to be here to talk to you about our unqualified audit. I have chosen to do it in person, which is a little unusual, but I would like to thank you for the way you have managed and supported this audit process.
For the past 12 months Bayside staff have worked closely with the Audit Office of NSW, the appointed external auditor for Bayside Council, to address numerous audit issues inherited by the new Council as part of the amalgamation. Bayside has been successful in now addressing all of those issues.
“To remediate the audit issues that existed, Council established Project 2020 which was driven by a team of hardworking and dedicated staff," Bayside Mayor Joe Awada said.
“Over an 18 month period they worked tirelessly to rectify issues around a number of areas including financial data and reporting controls; asset management systems, processes and data, Employee data and payroll related matters, as well as IT security and access.”
“Our finances have been under the microscope and the constant independent review of the Audit Office of NSW and the Office of Local Government since amalgamation in September 2016.
“The Auditor-General’s address has confirmed what we knew all along – our Council is producing excellent financial records. I’m proud of what the team at Bayside has achieved.”
The audited 2019/20 financial statements were lodged with the Office of Local Government on 23 October 2020.
These financial statements, audited and approved by the Audit Office of NSW, contain positive financial ratios that exceed or achieve the industry benchmarks and would be the envy of many other NSW council.
To complete the process of finalising the audited reports, they were presented at last night’s Council meeting.
Bayside Council was one of the first 20 NSW councils to finalise its reports, putting it in the top 15 per cent of NSW Councils for finalising the 2019/20 financial statements.
“This is an important achievement for Bayside” Mayor Joe Awada said.
“After a tough three years unravelling the financial challenges of amalgamation, Bayside Council’s financial records are better than ever and Council has met all its statutory compliance and reporting requirements on time.
“This is an incredible milestone for Council. Our sound financial position has been confirmed and independently verified.
Our community should be confident our financial records are in order. Once again I would like to recognise and acknowledge the tremendous effort of our dedicated staff who played such a large role in this achievement.”