Quarterly financial report provides initiatives and savings targets

Actions taken by councillors and staff during the last three months to improve Council’s financial position has set a precedent for financial savings in the next financial year.

The quarterly Financial Sustainability Productivity and Efficiency Report presented to this week’s Council meeting provided a summary of initiatives undertaken by the organisation and any financial outcomes realised so far.

The report includes proactive initiatives from within the organisation to achieve savings targets as well as the outcome of property sales and pausing capital works projects to date.

“Resetting the financial trajectory of Council is our number one priority and its encouraging to see some positive results this early in the process,” said CEO Robyn Stevens.

“We have a considerable task ahead and I’m proud of the commitment that the elected council and staff across the organisation have made to this financial improvement project,” Ms Stevens said.

Pausing 13 capital works projects between March and May reduced Council’s capital works commitment and reduced loan borrowings by $2.5 million for this financial year that would have been repaid over the course of years.

Changes to systems and processes for financial accounting and project management is being embedded in the organisation and underpins a 2024-25 budget and capital works program that’s realistic and affordable in the current financial climate, requiring no new loans in the Unrestricted General Fund during the next financial year.

Cost controls implemented by management to contain expenses for the 2023-24 financial year included no overtime for staff, no new tenders and no discretionary spending. Managers throughout the organisation have put forward 284 ideas to save costs or increase revenue, of which 119 are being progressed immediately and 165 are being worked through for consideration and potential implementation.

There has been a reduction in staff recruitment during the first half of the year, with 69 positions advertised 1 February to 28 May this year, compared to 105 positions during the same period last year. Executive management declined or placed on hold 46 recruitments between March and the end of May this year.

The process to sell properties to fund $5.375 million of the capital works and repay $9.625 million of existing debt is underway. Work has started on the sales process for nine properties endorsed by councillors for immediate sale and several others under investigation for potential future consideration. The next report to Council will reflect ongoing savings captured during the first quarter of 2024-25.

The Financial Sustainability Productivity and Efficiency Report can be viewed on Council’s website.

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