By Staff Writer
Local Government finances will be subject to tougher auditing checks under new legislation tabled in the South Australian Parliament.
The Local Government (Accountability Framework) Amendment Bill 2009 was designed to raise standards of management and accountability in South Australia’s councils.
Minister for State/Local Government Relations Gail Gago said expanded auditing of financial management systems and other requirements will positively impact on transparency and accountability in local government.
“We expect the measures will significantly increase community and business confidence in Local Government in South Australia,” she said.
“Councils have an important role as a sphere of government in their own right. Therefore, general public sector standards of accountability and responsibility should apply to Local Government.
“Part of that responsibility includes an audit of not only the council’s financial statements, but also the controls that are in place within the council, to monitor and report any abnormality. This is the standard that is applicable to the State and Commonwealth Governments."
All metropolitan councils will be required to comply with the new auditing requirements as soon as possible. Smaller, regional councils will have a transitional period to comply.
The Bill incorporates a number of other technical amendments previously contained in the Local Government (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2009, which was released for public comment, along with the accountability framework proposals paper in December, 2008.
Separately, two other pieces of local government reforms are currently before State Parliament. They are the Statutes Amendment (Council Allowances) Bill 2009 and Local Government (Elections) (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2009.
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