Review of the Monash Council 2018/19 budget draft presents an opportunity for exercising community oversight of the Monash council’s governance performance in budget planning. Hence, we commemorate Monash council for this community participation. However, the acid test remains, ie to prove the review is not a tokenistic and click-box activity and that budget planning conduct and results demonstrate good governance principles. Our review results identified gaps in good governance in the budget plan.
Advocating for the Monash community, Monash Ratepayers appraised the budgeted estimates for the next 4 years, including comparing them with the financial forecasts submitted to the Essential Service Commission (ESC), which seeks to request a higher rate variation from the cap.
We conclude from the budget analysis findings that (click 2018-19 Budget Anaysis V2 to view the details):
- Monash Council’s proposal to increase average rate above the cap is unnecessary, because the annual $1.5 million shortfall in waste costs can be readily absorbed by reducing the 2018/19 budgeted surplus and/or unrestricted cash provisions for the next four years.
- In the next Strategic Planning Cycle (4 years), the council is not demonstrating resolve to deliver efficiencies to the Monash community. Efficiency is a principle of good governance and is embedded in the LG Act as an attribute of a council’s legislated objectives and governance performance. Hence it is critical the Fair Go Rate continues to cap rates, as a good governance oversight and intervention mechanism, to strengthen encouraging Monash Council to improve its productivity and efficiency in the longer future.
We also found that employee costs also have risen above 2.25%, the average rate cap set by the LG Minister, to align council rates to CPI.
We conclude that the 2018/19 budget draft is not a community responsive and responsible budget. We highly recommend changes to be made, to address the identified governance deficiencies.