WA passes law to audit local government

The Western Australian Government has passed laws to extend the Auditor General's powers to local governments, with the aim of improving local government accountability standards to a level more consistent with public sector departments and agencies.

The Bill will enable the Auditor General to audit council finances and performance and ensure that local governments are accountable, transparent and responsible.

Under the legislation, local governments will be required to publish their annual reports including audit reports on their websites, improving access to the financial position of individual councils for ratepayers.

A new category of audits that will examine the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of programs and organisations, including compliance with legislative provisions and internal policies, was also introduced under the new legislation.

The legislation follows recent Corruption and Crime Commission investigations into a number of local governments for allegations of serious misconduct and corruption. It also responds to recommendations made by Parliament's Public Accounts Committee.

The Local Government Amendment (Auditing) Bill 2017 is available here.

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