2022/23 Financial Statements On Public Exhibition

Leeton Shire Council

Council’s annual audited financial statements for 2022/23 are available for public review, with feedback due by 7 March, as per the timeframes in section 420 of the Local Government Act (LG Act).

Leeton Shire ended the 2022/23 financial year with cash reserves of $54.6M (72.89% externally restricted) and a net operating result before capital grants and contributions of $1.6M.

The significant improvements relative to the original 2023 budget and the 2022 end of year deficit of $1.1M are largely attributable to additional grant funding of $2.4M (for flood recovery and additional Financial Assistance Grant), as well as $1.0M increase in interest and investment income due to interest rate rises during the year.

At the 28 February 2024 Ordinary Council meeting, several Councillors noted that although the cash position looks strong, the general fund remains in decline; a sentiment echoed by Audit Risk and Improvement (ARIC) Chairman, Graham Bradley, whose report to the Mayor was also tabled at the meeting. Mr Bradley, a Chartered Accountant with 40 plus years’ experience auditing local councils in NSW, noted that the Financial Assistance Grant advance payment had ‘artificially inflated’ the reported operating results.

The audit of the financial statements for 2022/23 was conducted by Crowe on behalf of the NSW Audit Office. Crowe Senior Partner, Brad Bohun, addressed the Council at the meeting, complimenting Council on the conduct of the audit despite significant finance team staffing challenges which saw the OLG providing extensions to the due date for sending the audited accounts to the Office of Local Government.

In regards to Council’s general purpose financial statements, the Auditor General’s (AG) opinion is that Council’s accounting records have been kept in accordance with the requirements of the LG Act; the statements have been prepared in accordance with divisional requirements and are consistent with Council’s accounting records; and they present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Council as at 30 June 2023. Further no material deficiencies in the accounting records or financial statement were evident to the auditor. Notwithstanding, Council received a qualified audit for not accounting for the Red Fleet (RFS assets) which Council contends are NSW government assets, not Council assets; a position firmly endorsed by Council’s ARIC (The accounting treatment for RFS assets is currently a matter before the NSW Parliamentary Accounts Committee).

In regards to the Water and Sewer (special purpose) funds, the AG’s opinion is that the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Council’s declared Business Activities as at 30 June 2023.

In reflecting on the Performance Ratios in the Report on the Conduct of the Audit, the Councillors were generally pleased to see Council was performing relatively well.

They noted that while some results can be skewed by one-off windfalls, it is still good to see Council’s operating performance ratio, own source revenue ratio, unrestricted current ratio, debt service ratio, outstanding rates and annual charges percentage, and cash expense cover ratio are all performing better than the OLG benchmarks in our 30 June 2023 end of year statements.

The 2022/23 Leeton Shire Council Audited Financial Statements and Auditor’s Reports are available on the Council website www.leeton.nsw.gov.au.

Hard copies will also be available for viewing by the public at the Leeton Shire Council Administration Office, Leeton Library, Yanco Shop and Whitton Post Offices.

Anyone wanting to provide feedback to Council can do so by:

/Public Release. View in full here.