Minister to vary Performance Improvement Order

Kiama Council

Council chambers Oct 2022

Kiama Council has added a supplementary item to this week’s Extraordinary Meeting agenda that contains correspondence from the Minister for Local Government – Notice of Intention to vary a Performance Order.

The letter from the NSW Minister for Local Government, The Hon. Ron Hoenig, recognises the substantial financial challenges faced by Kiama Council. It acknowledges that Council has taken significant steps to address the matters that gave rise to the issuance of a Performance Improvement Order (PIO) back in November 2022, but notes the PIO will be varied and will continue.

The Minister’s letter is accompanied by a report from Mr John Rayner, who was appointed by the Minister to conduct a review that was completed in January 2024.

Kiama Council CEO Jane Stroud said: “the Rayner report contains poignant findings that echo precisely the numerous briefings and reports provided to council and the community on a range of governance and financial matters since January 2021. It is not a comfortable read, but it is a factual and fair appraisal of the dire situation.”

Ms Stroud noted that the report confirms lawfully made previous decisions of Council in respect to two asset sales (Akuna Street landholdings and Akuna Street South) and the proposed divestment of Blue Haven Bonaira.

Given the relevance of the Rayner report to the extraordinary meeting agenda items, the full report and notice of intention to vary have been publicly released for information. A further report is scheduled for Council’s Ordinary Meeting on 13 February 2024 to finalise Council’s required response to the Notice of Intention to vary a Performance Order.

Ms Stroud drew attention to the CEO response to the Notice of Motion in the business papers for the Extraordinary Meeting, “where I publicly share my enduring concern about the state of the organisation’s finances, making it plain that urgent, decisive and collective action to protect the local government and its financial sustainability, now and into the future, is what is required right now”.

“I am not surprised that the PIO will continue and will bind this Council, future candidates and ultimately the next incoming Council. Until the structural deficit is corrected and Council lives within its means, it is what is needed, and is a reasonable and well-thought intervention by the State Government. I am grateful that the Minister has not yet imposed further sanctions or moved to appoint a financial controller. Our team have worked hard to comply with the previous Performance Improvement Order and every effort will be made to continue to meet the requirements”.

“I urge members of the public to read the report, understand the issues and to think deeply about the transparency of what has been shared historically and now”.

In light of this supplementary item, registrations for Public Access have been extended until 10am Thursday 1 February.

/Public Release. View in full here.