Response to Minister for Local Government

Kiama Council

Council chambers Oct 2022

Kiama Council has resolved to accept the Minister for Local Government’s intention to issue a variation of the Performance Improvement Order, which was received via a letter to Council on 30 January 2024.

Kiama Mayor Neil Reilly thanked Local Government Minister, the Hon. Ron Hoenig MP for his letter regarding Council’s State-issued Performance Improvement Order (PIO).

The Minister’s letter recognised the substantial financial challenges faced by council and acknowledged the significant steps already taken to address the matters that gave rise to the issuance of the PIO in November 2022.

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

“The report from Mr Rayner contains poignant findings that echo the numerous briefings and reports provided to Council and the community on a range of governance and financial matters since January 2022. It is a factual and fair appraisal of Council’s situation however uncomfortable it is to read,” said Kiama Council CEO Jane Stroud.

“We welcome the Minister’s letter and the Rayner report, which confirms the hard work already undertaken by Council in addressing matters set out in the PIO. However, we also agree that there is still much to be done,” said Mayor Reilly.

The Rayner review makes it plain that collective action to protect Council and its financial sustainability is required and continuation of the PIO will bind this Council, future candidates and ultimately the next incoming Council.

“The news that the Minister has not yet imposed further sanctions or moved to appoint a financial controller is also welcomed,” said Cr Reilly

The Mayor thanked Council staff, who have worked hard to comply with the previous PIO and said every effort will be made to continue to meet the new requirements.

Council played no role in scoping or commissioning the review and was advised via letter that the Minister was undertaking this work. As an instrument of State Government, the OLG and Minister can request any information from Council and undertake any review deemed appropriate in line with the provisions made in the Local Government Act 1993.

The CEO has already commenced regular liaison with the OLG and will continue to report on progress and Council matters to the department.

/Public Release. View in full here.