Audit reveals Queensland councils struggling with debt

The Queensland Audit Office has taken a microscope to 76 of the state’s councils, uncovering the $5.4 billion in debt the state’s sector has found itself in.

The 2017-18 audit concluded that the State Government should move to immediately rein in the spending habits of the councils, with the five-year average operating surplus ratio showing signs of deterioration.

The audit also concluded that, despite some improvement in the sector, more must be done to improve the quality of financial reporting in the sector.

The report also paints a grim picture of long-term sustainability of local councils.

“Long-term financial sustainability remains a major risk for many councils with the sector still spending more than it earns,” the report concluded.

The audit also found that good financial governance and stewardship are still not priorities for many of the councils, which would potentially lead to higher risks of fraud and financial errors.

A summary of the report can be found here

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