Victoria's 79 council's collectively spend around $7.6 billion on capital works and recurrent services each year, and manage over $60 billion in community assets and infrastructure.
This audit examined a representative selection of councils to determine whether they had effectively integrated their planning and budgeting, considered the long-term sustainability of selected investments and produced accurate and reliable budgets and forecasts.
While Glen Eira generally manages its planning and budgeting well, considerable improvement is still required by Whittlesea, South Gippsland and Hepburn. The quality of the strategic, financial and asset management plans at these three councils is poor. Objectives, strategies and actions were not clearly specified nor linked to useful performance indicators. Community input into the development of council plans was limited, and these plans, including shorter-term operational plans, are not underpinned by rigorous service and asset management strategies. Consequently, the plans are not sufficiently integrated and do not align well with their annual budgets. Further these councils could not demonstrate that all of their investment decisions were sound, that their services were appropriately targeted, or that they were effective and efficient in meeting community needs.