AGENDA


Finance and Governance Committee

 

Monday, 12 April 2021

6.00pm

 

BLENDED MEETING

 

Dragon Meeting Room (First Floor, Georges River Civic Centre Hurstville)

and

Skype Online Meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Monday, 12 April 2021                                              Page 0

 

 

 

 

OATH OF OFFICE OR AFFIRMATION OF OFFICE

All Georges River Councillors are reminded of their Oath of Office or Affirmation of Office made at the time of their swearing into the role of Councillor.

All Councillors are to undertake the duties of the office of Councillor in the best interests of the people of the Georges River Council area and are to act faithfully and impartially carry out the functions, powers, authorities and discretions vested in them under the Local Government Act 1993 or any other Act to the best of their ability and judgement.

 

 

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

All Georges River Councillors are reminded of their obligation to declare any conflict of interest (perceived or otherwise) in a matter being considered by Council or at any meeting of Council.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          Finance and Governance Committee

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

1.      OPENING

2.      ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

3.      APOLOGIES / LEAVE OF ABSENCE

4.      NOTICE OF WEBCASTING

5.      DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

6.      PUBLIC FORUM

7.      CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING

FIN016-21         Confirmation of the Minutes of the Finance and Governance Committee Meeting held on 8 March 2021

(Report by Executive Services Officer)....................................................................... 3

8.      COMMITTEE REPORTS

FIN017-21         Administrative Matter - Execution of Documents Under Delegated Authority (1 February 2021 to 31 March 2021)

(Report by Manager, Office of the General Manager)........................................... 11

FIN018-21         Investment Report as at 28 February 2021

(Report by Senior Financial Accountant - Reporting)............................................ 14

FIN019-21         Status Update - Local Government Amendment (Rating) Bill 2021

(Report by Chief Financial Officer)............................................................................ 29

FIN020-21         2021/22 Budget Consideration: Proposed Amendment to the Debt Management and Hardship Policy (Low Income Rate Rebate)

(Report by Chief Financial Officer)............................................................................ 33

9.      CONFIDENTIAL (CLOSED SESSION)

FIN012A-21       Property Matter - Taylors Reserve, Lugarno (Creation of Right of Way)

(Report by Head of Strategic Property)

FIN013A-21       Property Matter - Proposed Dedication for Road Widening and Grant of Easement for Access - Louis Terrace, Hurstville

(Report by Strategic Property Specialist)

FIN014A-21       Norm O'Neil Cricket Training Centre - Management Agreement (Commercial-in-Confidence)

(Report by Manager Premium Facilities)

 

CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Item:                   FIN016-21     Confirmation of the Minutes of the Finance and Governance Committee Meeting held on 8 March 2021 

Author:              Executive Services Officer

Directorate:      Office of the General Manager

Matter Type:    Previous Minutes

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

That the Minutes of the Finance and Governance Committee Meeting held on 8 March 2021 be confirmed.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1

Minutes of the Finance and Governance Committee - 8/03/2021


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Monday, 12 April 2021                                              Page 0

 

 

 

 

 

MINUTES


Finance and Governance Committee

 

Monday, 08 March 2021

6.00pm

 

 

 

Dragon Room (Level 1,Georges River Civic Centre,

Hurstville)

and

Skype Online Meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


PRESENT

COUNCIL MEMBERS

Councillor Vince Badalati (Chair), Deputy Mayor, Councillor Stephen Agius, Councillor Sam Elmir, Councillor Con Hindi, and Councillor Colleen Symington.

COUNCIL STAFF

Director Business and Corporate Services - David Tuxford, Director Assets and Infrastructure - Andrew Latta, Chief Audit Executive - Juliette Hall, Manager Premium Facilities - Luke Coleman, Chief Financial Officer - Danielle Parker, Head of Strategic Property - Bernard Morabito,  Manager Office of the General Manager - Roxanne Thornton,  Executive Services Officer - Marina Cavar and Executive Assistant – Nickie Paras (Minutes).

OPENING

Councillor Badalati opened the meeting at 6:02pm.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

Councillor Badalati acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land, the Biddegal people of the Eora Nation.

APOLOGIES/LEAVE OF ABSENCE

MOTION: Councillor Agius and Councillor Symington

That apologies be accepted and leave of absence be granted for Councillor Katris and Councillor Liu

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

NOTICE OF WEBCASTING

The Chairperson, Councillor Badalati, advised staff and the public that the meeting is being recorded for minute-taking purposes and is also webcast live on Council’s website, in accordance with Section 4 of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice.  This recording will be made available on  Council’s website.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

There were no disclosures of interest made.

PUBLIC FORUM

ITEM

SPEAKER

FIN013-21  Draft 2021/22 Budget – Consideration of Councillor Ward Discretionary Fund and Program Results (2019 to 2021)

Camela Savoca

   

CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS

FIN007-21         Confirmation of the Minutes of the Finance and Governance Committee Meeting held on 8 February 2021

(Report by Executive Services Officer)

RECOMMENDATION: Councillor Symington and Councillor Hindi

That the Minutes of the Finance and Governance Committee Meeting held on 8 February 2021 be confirmed.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

COMMITTEE REPORTS

FIN008-21         Investment Report as at 31 January 2021

(Report by Senior Financial Accountant - Reporting)

Recommendation: Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius and Councillor Symington

That Council receives and notes the contents of the Investment Report as at 31 January 2021.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

 

 

FIN009-21         Report on Outstanding Council Resolutions (Period up to and including 31 December 2020)

(Report by Executive Services Officer)

RECOMMENDATION: Councillor Elmir and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

That the report on Outstanding Council Resolutions (period up to and including 31 December 2020), be received and noted.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion:         Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius and Councillor Elmir.

Against the Motion:  Councillors Hindi, Badalati and Symington.

On being put to the Meeting, voting on this Recommendation was two (2) votes FOR and three (3) votes AGAINST. THE MATTER IS AT LARGE.

 

 

FIN010-21         Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee Minutes from meetings held on 21 September and 19 October 2020

(Report by Chief Audit Executive)

RECOMMENDATION: Councillor Elmir and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

(a)     That the confirmed Minutes of the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee meeting held on 21 September 2020 be received and noted.

(b)     That the confirmed Minutes of the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee (Special Financial Statements) meeting held on 19 October 2020 be received and noted.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

 

 

FIN011-21         2020/21 Half Yearly Progress Report for Quarter Ending 31 December 2020

(Report by Integrated Planning and Reporting Officer)

Recommendation: Councillor Elmir and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

(a)     That Council receive and note the Half Yearly Progress Report July 2020 - December 2020.

(b)     That Council endorse the Delivery Program and Operational Plan items recommended for cancellation, being placed on hold, or altered as detailed in Attachment 1.

(c)     That a copy of the Half Yearly Progress Report July 2020 – December 2020 be published on Council’s website.

(d)     That the General Manager be delegated authority to make minor editorial changes to the Half Yearly Progress Report prior to publishing on Council’s website.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

 

 

FIN012-21         Amalgamation Proposal (Review of Local Government Area Boundaries) - Outcome of Community Engagement

(Report by Director City Strategy and Innovation)

Recommendation: Councillor Elmir and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

(a)     That Council note the outcome of the community engagement regarding the amalgamation proposal to amend the boundaries of the Georges River local government area.

(b)     That Council take no further action in relation to these proposals at this time and all persons who made written submissions be advised of this decision.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

 

 

FIN013-21         Draft 2021/22 Budget - Consideration of Councillor Ward Discretionary Fund and Program Results (2019 to 2021)

(Report by Research and Projects Officer)

RECOMMENDATION: Councillor Hindi and Councillor Symington

(a) That Council note the successful community outcomes achieved during the 2019/2020 financial year of the Councillor Discretionary Ward Fund Program.

(b)  That this matter be deferred for further consideration by the newly elected Council following the Local Government Election in September 2021.

AMENDMENT: Councillor Elmir and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

(a)     That Council note the successful community outcomes achieved during the 2019/2020 financial year of the Councillor Discretionary Ward Fund Program.

(b)     That Council consider the allocation of $75,000 in the draft 2021/2022 Budget towards the Councillor Ward Discretionary Fund program, for the purposes of non-capital allocations.

(c)     That should Council allocate the funds in the 2021/22 Budget, the funds only be made available to incoming Councillors elected after the September 2021 elections.

(d)     That the General Manager be delegated authority to make minor editorial changes to the Councillor Ward Discretionary Fund Policy to allow for efficient administration of the program for the 2021/2022.

Record of Voting:

For the Amendment:        Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius and Councillor Elmir.

Against the Amendment: Councillors Badalati, Hindi and Symington.

On being put to the Meeting, voting on the Amendment was two (2) votes FOR and three (3) votes AGAINST. The Amendment was LOST.

RECOMMENDATION: Councillor Hindi and Councillor Symington

(a) That Council note the successful community outcomes achieved during the 2019/2020financial year of the Councillor Discretionary Ward Fund Program.

(b)     That this matter be deferred for further consideration by the newly elected Council following the Local Government Elections in September 2021.

For the Motion:          Councillors Badalati, Hindi and Symington.

Against the Motion:    Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius and Councillor Elmir.

On being put to the Meeting, voting on this Recommendation was three (3) votes FOR and two (2) votes AGAINST. The Recommendation was CARRIED.

 

 

FIN014-21         Property Matter - Compulsory Acquisition of Open Space Land, Beverly Hills

(Report by Head of Strategic Property)

Recommendation: Councillor Hindi and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

(a)     That pursuant to Section 186 of the Local Government Act 1993, formal application be made to the Minister and Governor via the Office of Local Government seeking approval to commence the compulsory acquisition process for Lot 12 in Deposited Plan (DP) 1038625.

(b)     That following approval of the Office of Local Government and Minister/Governor to commence compulsory acquisition proceedings, the General Manager be authorised to sign the Notice of Compulsory Acquisition of Land and that the notice be published in the NSW Government Gazette.

(c)     That upon acquisition, a restrictive covenant be placed upon the land that any subsequent reclassification and sale of any interest or estate in the land will only occur on the basis that one half of any consideration received shall be remitted to the former land owner.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

 

 

FIN015-21         Property Matter - Commercial Property Portfolio - 2020/21 Second Quarter Report

(Report by Strategic Property Specialist)

Recommendation: Councillor Elmir and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

That Council receives and notes the Commercial Property Portfolio Second Quarter Report for 2020/2021.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

MOVE TO CLOSED SESSION

MOTION: Councillor Hindi and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

At this stage of the meeting, time being  6:50pm, Councillor Badalati advised that the meeting would move into Closed Session in accordance with Section 10A of The Local Government Act 1993.

Accordingly, members of the press and public are excluded from the Closed Session and access to the correspondence relating to the item considered during the course of the Closed Session will be withheld.

This action was taken to allow discussion of the following items:

 

FIN005A-21       Georges River Council Premium Facilities - Commercial Arrangements

(Report by Chief Financial Officer)

                            THAT in accordance with the provisions of Part 1 of Chapter 4 of the Local Government Act 1993, the matters dealt with in this report be considered in closed Council Meeting at which the press and public are excluded. In accordance with Section 10A(2) (c) it is considered the matter information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom the Council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business.

THAT in accordance with Section 10D it is considered that if the matter were discussed in an open Council Meeting, it would on balance, be contrary to the public interest as it information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom the Council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business.

That in accordance with the provisions of Section 11(2) of the Act, the reports and correspondence relating to these matters be withheld from the press and public.

The Chair, Councillor Badalati asked the Director, Mr David Tuxford if any representations had been received from the public that the item should not be discussed in closed session.

The Director replied that no representations had been received to the item in closed session.

Given the current circumstances relating to COVID-19 and with this meeting being held as an online meeting, Council was not able to seek any additional representations from the public.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

Note:          The Committee moved to Closed Session at 6:50pm

CLOSED CONFIDENTIAL SESSION

CONSIDERATION OF CONFIDENTIAL RECOMMENDATIONS

FIN005A-21       Georges River Council Premium Facilities - Commercial Arrangements

(Report by Chief Financial Officer)

RECOMMENDATION: Councillor Hindi and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

(a)  That Council receives and notes the information contained within this report.

(b)  That the General Manager prepares a further report detailing the commercial arrangements of the Norm O’Neil Cricket Centre.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

RETURN TO OPEN SESSION

MOTION: Councillor Hindi and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

That the meeting revert to Open Session, time being 7:02pm

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

Note:          The Committee moved to Open Session at 7:02pm.

OPEN SESSION

CONSIDERATION OF CONFIDENTIAL RECOMMENDATIONS FROM CLOSED SESSION

FIN005A-21       Georges River Council Premium Facilities - Commercial Arrangements

(Report by Chief Financial Officer)

RECOMMENDATION: Councillor Hindi and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Agius

That the Committee of the Whole recommendations from the Closed Session of this meeting be received and noted as the recommendations of the Committee to be referred to Council, without any alteration or amendment thereto.

Record of Voting:

For the Motion: Unanimous

Note:   Councillor Hindi left the meeting at 7:02pm and did not return.

CONCLUSION

The Meeting was closed at 7:03pm.

 

 

 

 

Chairperson

 

 


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Monday, 12 April 2021                                              Page 0

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Item:                   FIN017-21          Administrative Matter - Execution of Documents Under Delegated Authority (1 February 2021 to 31 March 2021) 

Author:              Manager, Office of the General Manager

Directorate:      Office of the General Manager

Matter Type:    Committee Reports

 

 

 

Recommendation:

That Council note, for the period 1 February 2021 to 31 March 2021, there were seven (7) documents executed by the General Manager under delegation.

 

Executive Summary

At its meeting on 24 February 2020, Council resolved that the General Manager report to Council any lease, contract or hire agreement (excluding staff contracts) executed under delegation.

REPORT

Council at its meeting on 24 September 2018, delegated to the General Manager the General Manager’s Delegations (Instrument of Delegation).

During the period 1 February 2021 to 31 March 2021 the following documents have been executed by the General Manager under Delegation.

Community Leases

Date Executed

Document Type

Premises

NIL

 

 

Premium Facilities

Date Executed

Document Type

Premises

12 February 2021

Lease to Beverley Park Golf Club Limited

Beverley Park Golf Course

Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah

Commercial Leases

Date Executed

Document Type

Premises

5 March 2021

Lease to Cerebral Palsy Alliance

469 Forest Road, Penshurst

28 March 2021

Lease to Tangelo Pty Ltd

Suite 2C, 34 McMahon Street, Hurstville

Contracts

Date Executed

Document Type

Premises

5 February 2021

Contract - Supply, Installation and Ongoing Maintenance of Commercial Car Parking Equipment – TMA Technology (Australia) Pty Ltd

Not specific

5 February 2021

Contract - Naturalisation and Car Park Construction - Glascott Landscape and Civil Pty Ltd

Lower Poulton Park

11 March 2021

Supply Agreement - Traffic Management Services - Guardian Venue Management International

Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

11 March 2021

Supply Agreement - Event/Customer Service Staff - Venue Industry Professionals

Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Financial Implications

No budget impact for this report.

Risk Implications

No risks identified.

File Reference

D21/70272

 

 

 

  


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Monday, 12 April 2021                                              Page 0

Item:                   FIN018-21     Investment Report as at 28 February 2021 

Author:              Senior Financial Accountant - Reporting

Directorate:      Business and Corporate Services

Matter Type:    Committee Reports

 

 

 

Recommendation:

That Council receives and notes the contents of the Investment Report as at 28 February 2021.

 

Executive Summary

1.      This report details Council’s performance of its investment portfolio as at 28 February 2021 and compares it against key benchmarks.

2.      This report also includes the estimated market valuation of Council’s investment portfolio, loan liabilities and any required update on Council’s legal action against various parties.

3.      Council’s annualised rate of return is 1.51% which is 1.30% above benchmark. Income from interest on investments totals $1.2m which is $163k lower than the 2020/21 year-to-date adopted budget.

Background

4.      Council’s Responsible Accounting Officer is required to report monthly on Council’s Investment Portfolio and certify that the Investments are held in accordance with Council’s Investment Policy, Section 625 of the Local Government Act 1993 and Local Government (General) Regulation 2005.

Investment Performance Commentary

5.      Council’s performance against the benchmark for returns of its investment portfolio for February 2021, are as follows:

 

1 Month

3 Month

12 Month

Portfolio Performance

0.08%

0.26%

1.51%

Performance Index

0.00%

0.00%

0.21%

Excess

0.08%

0.26%

1.30%

Notes:                                                      

(a)     Portfolio performance is the rate of return of the portfolio over the specified period.

(b)     The Performance Index is the Bloomberg Ausbond Bank Bill Index.   

(c)     Excess performance is the rate of return of the portfolio in excess of the (b) Performance Index.

6.     
Council’s investment portfolio as at the end of February 2021 was as follows:

Security Type

Market Value $000's

% Total Value

At Call Deposit

15,069

9.55%

Consolidated Cash Fund

15,442

9.79%

Covered Floating Bond

1,007

0.64%

Flexi Deposit (Fix/Float)

6,000

3.80%

Floating Rate Deposit

7,000

4.44%

Floating Rate Note

38,289

24.26%

Term Deposit

                        75,013

   47.52%

Total Cash and Investments

157,821

100.00%

7.      At the end of January 2021, Total Cash and Investments were $153 million which have increased by $5 million at the end of February 2021.

8.      Council continues to utilise the Federal Government’s current guarantee ($250,000) investing in Term Deposits with a range of Authorised Deposit Taking Institutions (ADI’s) on short to medium term investments (generally 30 days to 180 days maturity).

Legal Matters

9.      Georges River Council is participating in a Group Class Action against Fitch Ratings Inc., in respect to losses suffered on the Corsair (Cayman Islands) No.4 Ltd Series 6 Kakadu Collateralised Debt Obligation (CDO) notes. Council suffered a capital loss of $214,812 on these investments dating back to December 2006 and will seek damages of the capital loss, including lost interest, as part of the action.

Banton Group are the legal firm working on the matter and have been investigating a new potential issue with Fitch’s ratings model since last November. Banton have continued to confer with counsel to discuss the best option in the potential commencement of proceedings against Fitch Ratings Inc. in the near term. Further updates will be presented to Council as they are received.

Borrowings

10.    Council’s loan liability, as at 28 February 2021 was $875,000, which represents the balance of a $5 million/10-year loan drawn down on 16 November 2012 for the Jubilee Park upgrade in Mortdale. The next repayment of $125,000 is due on 24 March 2021.

11.    The outstanding balance on this facility is at a variable interest rate of 195 basis points above the three-month BBSW. At the current three-month BBSW rate, the interest rate payable is 1.96% pa.

12.    Council receives a 4% p.a. interest subsidy under the NSW Government’s Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme funding agreement for the Jubilee Park upgrade facility. It is intended to continue this financially advantageous arrangement through to full term in 2022.

Policy Limits

13.    The graph below shows the Investment Rating limits, as a percentage of total cash investments, which are allowed under Council’s Investment policy. It also compares them to the amounts invested, as a percentage of the total cash investments. It shows that the funds invested are within the limits set in the Investment Policy.

Investment Income

14.    Income from interest on investments to 28 February 2021 is $1.2m which is $163k lower than the 2020/21 year-to-date adopted budget.

15.    Investments have been made in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993, Minister’s Guidelines, Regulations and Council’s Investment Policy.

Analysis of Investments

Investment Duration

Investment Term

Market Value ‘000

% Total Value

Policy Limits

0 to < 1 Year

93,905

59.50%

100%

1 to < 3 Years

52,351

33.17%

70%

3 to < 5 Years

11,565

7.33%

50%

Portfolio Total

157,821

100.00%

 

 

16.    Council’s portfolio is liquid, with 59.50% of assets maturing within 12 months. FRNs, At-Call Funds and Fixed Bonds also provide additional liquidity in an emergency.

17.    The following graphs show analysis of the total cash investment by institution:  

 

 

 

Type of Investments

 

18.    The majority of Council’s investment portfolio is made up of fixed term deposits, which account for approximately 48% of total investments.

19.    Bank Floating Rate Notes (FRN) can offer liquidity and a higher rate of income accrual, which is highly recommended by our Investment Advisors (CPG Research & Advisory).

20.    The following are the types of investments held by Council:

a)      Cash and Call Accounts refer to funds held at a financial institution and can be recalled by Council either same day or on an overnight basis.

b)      An FRN is a debt security issued by a company with a variable interest rate. This can either be issued as Certificates of Deposit (CD) or as Medium-Term Notes (MTN). The interest rate can be either fixed or floating, where the adjustments to the interest rate are usually made quarterly and are tied to a certain money market index such as the Bank Bill Swap Rate.

c)      A Fixed Term Deposit is a debt security issued by a company with a fixed interest rate over the term of the deposit.

Credit Rating

21.    Credit ratings are generally a statement as to an institution’s credit quality. Council’s Investment Advisors (CPG Research & Advisory) use Standard & Poor’s Credit ratings to classify the investments held by Council. Ratings ranging from AA to BBB (Short Term) & AA to BBB (long term) are considered investment grade.

22.    A general guide as to the meaning of each credit rating that Council deals with is as follows:

Short-term

AA:            The best quality companies, reliable and stable. An obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is very strong.

A:               The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is still strong but is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions.

BBB:          Adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to weaken the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments.

Unrated:   This category includes unrated Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADI’s) such as some Credit Unions and Building Societies to the extent not Commonwealth-guaranteed. No rating has been requested, or there is insufficient information on which to base a rating.      

Long-term

AA:            Quality companies, a bit higher risk than AAA. An obligor has very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments. It differs from the highest-rated obligors only to a small degree.

A:               Economic situation can affect finance. An obligor has strong capacity to meet its financial commitments but is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligors in higher-rated categories.

BBB:          Medium class companies, which are satisfactory at the moment. An obligor has adequate capacity to meet its financial commitments. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitments.

Unrated:  This category includes unrated Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADI’s) such as some Credit Unions and Building Societies to the extent not Commonwealth-guaranteed. No rating has been requested, or there is insufficient information on which to base a rating.

23.    The credit quality of Council’s portfolio is relatively high with approximately 93% of assets rated ‘A’ or higher. The ‘AAA’ assets represent the deposit investments covered by the Federal Government’s Financial Claims Scheme (FCS).

24.    The remaining 7% rated ‘BBB’ or ‘unrated’ reflects the deposit and FRN investments with the regional and unrated ADIs.

Council’s Investment Powers

25.    Council’s investment powers are regulated by Section 625 of the NSW Local Government Act 1993, which states:

·        A council may invest money that is not, for the time being, required by the council for any other purpose.

·        Money may be invested only in a form of investment notified by order of the Minister published in the Gazette.

·        An order of the Minister notifying a form of investment for the purposes of this section must not be made without the approval of the Treasurer.

·        The acquisition, in accordance with Section 358, of a controlling interest in a corporation or an entity within the meaning of that section is not an investment for the purposes of this section.

26.    Council’s investment policy and strategy requires that all investments are to be made in accordance with:

·        Local Government Act 1993 - Section 625.

·        Local Government Act 1993 - Order (of the Minister) dated 12 January 2011.

·        The Trustee Amendment (Discretionary Investments) Act 1997 - Sections 14A (2), 14C (1) & (2).

·        Local Government (Financial Management) Regulation 1993.

·        Investment Guidelines issued by the Department of Local Government.

Financial Implications

27.    Income from interest on investments totals $1.2m which is $163k lower than the 2020/21 year-to-date adopted budget.

Risk Implications

28.    Enterprise risk/s identified, and management process applied.

29.    Council’s enterprise risk identified was ‘poor financial management adversely impacts Council’s long-term financial sustainability’. The risk has been managed by Council’s management of investments in accordance with the relevant act and regulations, along with Council adopted Investment Policy. To further minimise the risk, Council will progressively move towards the placement of investments only in investments rated A or above.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

30.    No community consultation is required as a result of this report. Members of the community can attend and address Council at the Council meeting in relation to this matter in accordance with Council’s Code of Meeting Practice.

File Reference

D21/51781

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1

Investment Portfolio as at  28 February 2021

 


Georges River Council -            Finance and Governance Committee - Monday, 12 April 2021

FIN018-21              Investment Report as at 28 February 2021

[Appendix 1]           Investment Portfolio as at  28 February 2021

 

 

Page 0

 









Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Monday, 12 April 2021                                              Page 0

Item:                   FIN019-21     Status Update - Local Government Amendment (Rating) Bill 2021 

Author:              Chief Financial Officer

Directorate:      Business and Corporate Services

Matter Type:    Committee Reports

 

 

 

Recommendation:

That the report be received and noted.

 

Executive Summary

1.      The purpose of this report is to provide an update on the introduction of the Local Government Amendment (Rating) Bill 2021.

2.      The report has been prepared in response to the Council resolution on 26 October 2020 (NM090-20) and 8 February 2021 (CCL001-21):

“That the General Manager prepare a report to Council following the introduction of the Draft Bill to Parliament (estimated March/April 2021), on any financial options that may become available for inclusion in Council’s draft 2021/22 Budget process.”

Background

Introduction of the Local Government Amendment (Rating) Bill 2021

3.      On 16 March 2021, the Minister of Local Government introduced the Local Government Amendment (Rating) Bill 2021. Following readings on 17 and 23 March 2021, the Bill has been considered by the Legislative Assembly and is now due to be debated in the Legislative Council.

4.      However, consideration of the Bill cannot proceed further until the Parliament resumes in May 2021.

5.      As previously anticipated by Council officers, as the Bill has not been passed nor received assent prior to the preparation of council budgets, merged councils are now required to include the total harmonisation of rates as an financial option and model in their IPR documents (budgets) for public exhibition.

6.      During a discussion with the Office of Local Government (OLG) and merged councils in April 2021, the OLG provided the following update on the Bill:

 

·        The Bill has “stalled”

·        An amendment was proposed for gradual harmonisation over 8 years rather than 4 years

·        Anticipated review of the Bill would be in May 2021

·        If an SRV has not been submitted to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), the relevant Integrated Planning and Reporting documents could include multiple harmonisation options based on community consultation.

·        The OLG advised this would be its last meeting with merged councils on rate harmonisation and that the OLG had done its best with this process.

7.      The Bill proposes to amend the Local Government Act 1993 to give effect to certain recommendations made by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) concerning the local government rating system; to make further provision about local government elections and certain terms of office; to provide for superannuation contributions for councillors; and for related purposes.

8.      Key elements of the Bill include, but are not limited to:

·        Option for amalgamated councils created in 2016, to continue to maintain two separate rating systems across their local government area (LGA) for a total of eight years and gradually harmonise rates over four years.

·        Enabling the Minister to specify percentages for the variation of councils’ incomes to specify different percentages for different councils or a methodology for calculating a percentage

·        Allowing councils to levy special rates above the rate peg for infrastructure jointly funded with other levels of government, without IPART approval.

9.      On 24 December 2020, the Premier of NSW, on the recommendation of the Minister for Local Government, requested that the IPART undertake a review of the current Local Government rate pegging system to consider population growth.

10.    The IPART has released an Issues Paper, with submissions closing on the 3 May 2021, with a final report scheduled to be provided to the Minister for Local Government in September 2021.

Implications of ‘Stalled’ Bill for Georges River

11.    The Bill does not include any proposed amendments that would assist Council’s financial position in the 2021/22 budget process.

12.    Council has previously determined not to include any staged options for harmonisation of the minimum rates due to a lack of community support for this option. 

13.    Council’s feedback on its New Rates 2021 proposal has been positive from IPART.  Engagement with IPART has revealed that there is very little community opposition to the proposed SRV and harmonisation of the minimum rates. 

14.    Therefore, there is no requirement for Council to amend its Integrated Planning and Reporting documents based on the existing support from the community.

Current Rate Path Harmonisation Legislative Obligations

15.    As previously reported, current legislation mandates all merged councils in NSW to have a harmonised rating structure adopted for the financial year commencing 1 July 2021.

16.    Therefore, Council is obligated to commence the harmonisation process. Current legislation does not permit the gradual harmonisation of a minimum residential rate. Council can only have one residential minimum rate and one rate in the dollar (ad valorem) from 1 July 2021.

17.    The New Rates 2021 proposal that is currently being assessed by the IPART, following the Council resolution on 8 February 2021, includes a Special Rate Variation (SRV) to increase Council’s rate total income, a harmonised and equitable residential minimum rate and various changes to the business rating structure that also include higher business minimum rates than any of the former Councils.

 

Financial Implications

18.    The consequence of not proceeding with the New Rates 2021 application for harmonising the minimum rate and adopting a SRV would result in the current Hurstville minimum rate being applied across the entire City and a worsening forecast operating deficit of $12 million in 2021/22, resulting in the requirement to reduce services and jobs.

19.    The consequences would be as follows:

·        Houses in the former Kogarah Council area will pay almost three times what an apartment currently pays (an average increase of $300) and apartments will drop; broadening the inequity instead of addressing it.

·        Minimum ratepayers in the former Kogarah will pay $370 less.

·        Houses in the former Hurstville Council area will have an average decrease of $25 and those who had a large rate increase in 2020/21 will not receive a reduction. 

·        Minimum ratepayers in the former Hurstville would pay an additional $10.

·        Service reductions and job losses to decrease the immediate operating deficit.

20.    The New Rates program costs to date are approximately $450,000, which includes the financial modelling and community engagement work undertaken throughout 2019 and 2020. The estimated $450,000 does not account for the internal resourcing costs; further communication on the outcome and Councillors’ time in participating in over 15 briefings, since 2018.

21.    If the IPART approves Council’s SRV application, Council will receive an additional $4-$5 million per year, for the next five years in additional non-budgeted operating revenue to commence in 2021/22. This will make a major contribution towards Council being able to operate in surplus, which will contribute towards securing the continuation of services, maintaining assets and allowing investment into new local community assets. It will also be critical in improving Council’s Operating Ratio.

22.    If Council’s total rate income does not increase over the next 5 years as proposed by the SRV, Council will be forced to reduce or cease many services. Council will be unable to respond to the needs of future population growth, which will continue to strain service quality. This will result in higher use/overuse of current assets and worsening condition standards.

23.    Councillors have received extensive briefings on the necessary service reductions that will need to occur should the New rates 2021 SRV and rates harmonisation program not proceed.

Risk Implications

24.    The current NSW rating system, which does not allow for increased rate revenue in line with increased population growth, leaves councils with two options; these being service cuts with increased populations or an application to the IPART to achieve rate revenue growth.

25.    Many in the community incorrectly believe that rate revenue increases in line with population growth or increased levels of development.  This is not the case.

26.    Based on the outcomes of the community consultation, there was strong community sentiment for maintaining services levels rather than reductions.

27.    Councillors have been apprised of Council’s poor and deteriorating financial outlook over the next 10-year period through its Long-Term Financial Plan. Failure to address the unsustainable financial position places Council in contravention of s8B of the Local Government Act 1993 and will compel Council to cut and/or reduce services to ease the unfavourable gap between income and expenditure.

28.    By Council not proceeding to seek an immediate increase in rate revenue or an immediate reduction in expenditure through service and job cuts, will place Council in a highly probable position of not being able to meet operational cash commitments, such as salaries and weekly contractor payments. This will have the effect of forcing Council into a position of liquidating assets to improve its financial position temporarily but more importantly to improve its cash position.

Community Engagement

29.    The outcome of the comprehensive and thorough community engagement program in 2019 and 2020 for the proposed SRV and harmonisation of the rates (including changes to the minimum rates) demonstrated across both years:

·        strong community support for a single rating system, including support for the minimum rates for business and residential as proposed in 2019 and 2020, including 100% support by members of the Citizen Advice Group, and 89% of webinar participants in 2020 and 78% of all participants in 2019.

·        a multi-year Special Rate Variation of 5.8% in 2021, followed by 5.8% per year for the next 4 years has considerable community support, including again 100% support by members of the Citizen Advice Group and 65% of webinar participants in 2020 and 54% of all participants for a similar proposal in 2019.

File Reference

D21/69568

 

 

 

  


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Monday, 12 April 2021                                              Page 0

Item:                   FIN020-21     2021/22 Budget Consideration: Proposed Amendment to the Debt Management and Hardship Policy (Low Income Rate Rebate) 

Author:              Chief Financial Officer

Directorate:      Business and Corporate Services

Matter Type:    Committee Reports

 

 

 

Recommendation:

(a)     That Council amends the Debt Management and Hardship Policy to allow recipients of the Federal Assistance ‘JobSeeker’ to access the hardship support to allow payment of their rates and charges in monthly installments, at no additional cost and without penalty interest (estimated hardship support of $70-$100 annually).

(b)     That Council promotes the expansion of the Debt Management and Hardship Policy in the annual rates and charges mail out and usual media channels.

(c)     That, subject to the implementation of the Special Rate Variation in 2021/22, the General Manager provide a report after 12 months of operation of the amended Debt Management and Hardship Policy that reviews the operation of the low income hardship support and investigates any opportunities for further expansion of the Policy.

 

Executive Summary

1.      This report is in response to the Council resolution of 24 August 2020 in relation to ‘Amendment to Debt Management and Hardship Policy (Investigation of Low Income Rate Rebate)’ (NM066-20).

2.      The current adopted financial forecast of Council does not account for the introduction of a voluntary rebate or Low-Income Rate Rebate (LIRR). The introduction of such rebate would have a negative impact on Council’s financial position.

3.      An increase to Council’s proposed Special Rate Variation (SRV) would be required and/or an increase in the sale of assets or the reduction of services/staff to accommodate the cost of a rebate. In addition, data from Centrelink on the number of potential eligible rebate recipients would not be disclosed. This makes providing a budget estimate difficult to forecast and Council’s ability to incorporate the anticipated cost into the draft budget.

4.      The hardship assistance measures adopted by Council in July 2020, have enabled Council to manage cash flow whilst also provide relief to those vulnerable in our community. The measures adopted have enabled the write off of revenue for ratepayers of between $40 to $350 per year due to hardship. It is important for Council to implement measures that are affordable so it can continue to fund its diverse service portfolio and other community support programs.

Background

5.      In 1966, the Institute of Applied Economics began the first systematic attempt at measuring poverty in Australia by estimating the extent of the problem in the city of Melbourne. The then Prime Minister established a Commission of Inquiry into Poverty in August 1972, with Ronald Henderson appointed as Chair.

6.      The Commission’s first major report, Poverty in Australia, was released in August 1975. In his report, Henderson sought to identify the extent of poverty in Australia in terms of inadequate income relative to need. Any family with an income below what was then considered to be representative of an “austere” standard of living – a poverty line – was considered to be living in poverty.

7.      The poverty line was set at a benchmark income of $62.70 for the September quarter of 1973, which was roughly equivalent to the value of the basic wage plus child endowment (an earlier version of family allowance) for a reference family of two adults and two children. Adjustments were then made for other types of household. As at September 2020 the poverty line was set at $1,113.63 per week, inclusive of housing costs, for a family comprising two adults, one of whom is working, and two dependent children. This was an increase of $35.99 from the poverty line for the previous quarter (June 2020).

8.      Issues, such as the move away from the traditional male breadwinner model, including the end of full employment and problems updating the poverty line have led to the increased use of alternative income- and consumption-based poverty lines.

9.      Based on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing data, the average household median weekly income was $1,654.00 (note that this figure is from 2016).

10.    Another common measure used to assess socio-economic disadvantage is the Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA Index). This measure is accepted by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal in their measurement of a Local Government Area’s community’s capacity to pay rates. These measures are assessed alongside a councils hardship support tools.

11.    The SEIFA Index measures the relative level of socio-economic disadvantage based on a range of census characteristics. The index is derived from attributes that reflect disadvantage, such as low income, low educational attainment, high unemployment, and jobs in relatively unskilled occupations, and is useful in identifying geographic areas that are relatively disadvantaged. An area with a SEIFA of 1,000 is considered average while a lower score indicates that the area is experiencing more disadvantage.

12.    Georges River Council’s SEIFA Index (attached) of Disadvantage in 2016 was 1020, with 15.5% of the population considered low-income households. Georges River is placed at 30 out of a total of 131 Local Government Areas on the SEIFA Index, where 1 has the lowest level of disadvantage and 131 has the highest disadvantage.

13.    In comparing SEIFA rankings with Greater Sydney and neighbouring LGAs, Georges River has a relatively low level of disadvantage:

·        Canterbury-Bankstown has a SEIFA ranking of 935 with 20.6% of population considered low-income households.

·        Bayside Council is split between former Rockdale and Botany Bay Councils: Rockdale has a SEIFA ranking of 1002 and Botany Bay has a SEIFA ranking of 1001. 17.1% of the Bayside Council population are considered low-income households.

·        Greater Sydney has a SEIFA ranking of 1027 with 15.1% of population considered low-income households.

·        Sutherland Shire Council has a SEIFA ranking of 1080 with 12.6% of population considered low-income households.

14.    The Federal Government offers one-off crisis payments, subsidies for rental assistance for the elderly and their carers and advice for homeowners affected specifically by COVID-19.

15.    At a State Government level there is a COVID-19 assistance finder tool and over 70 rebates and savings offered through the Service NSW portal.

16.    Several organisations and services are available within the Georges River Council LGA and the greater St George area who provide emergency relief and financial counselling:

·        Bay City Care

·        Salvation Army – St George

·        St Vincent de Paul 

·        Aboriginal Financial Advice Service

·        Wesley Mission

Proposed Expansion of the Debt Management and Hardship Policy

17.    Council’s current hardship application process has received excellent feedback in terms of its timeliness and ease of approval. It would be recommended that the same application process continue for access to the Hardship Support provisions and mandatory pensioner rebates.

18.    The Federal Government JobSeeker payment replaced Newstart Allowance when it stopped in March 2020 and is the financial help for those aged between the ages of 22 and the Aged Pension, who are actively looking for work. It is also for when you are sick or injured and cannot do your usual work or study for a short period of time.

19.    It is proposed that the Debt Management and Hardship Policy is expanded to enable those receiving JobSeeker to access the monthly instalment payment plan in lieu of quarterly instalments. This is currently only offered to eligible pensioners.

20.    Utilising the Centrelink approval process and systems is recommended as the resources in assessing and administering eligibility within Council would require additional front-line staff.

21.    A rate rebate scheme for low-income households could not be identified in the Sydney metropolitan area. A survey of neighbouring councils in relation to the provision of a voluntary pensioner/other rebate highlights a differing approach:

·        Camden Council - one off $100 voluntary rebate to all ratepayers in 2020/21. Adopted 2020/21 operating deficit of $10.3 million.          

·        Ryde Council – one off $400 rate rebate for those on JobKeeper or JobSeeker and a voluntary pensioner rebate of $150. Adopted 2020/21 operating deficit of $1.5 million

·        Bayside Council - No additional rebates. Adopted 2020/21 operating deficit of $1.7 million

·        Cumberland Council – No additional rebates. Adopted 2020/21 operating surplus of $0.7 million

·        Fairfield City Council – No additional rebates. Adopted 2020/21 operating deficit of $3 million

·        Blacktown City Council - Additional voluntary pensioner rebate of $200 per annum providing that the ratepayer has paid rates to Blacktown City Council for more than 5 years. Adopted 2020/21 operating deficit of $15.4 million

·        Liverpool Council - Additional voluntary pensioner rebate of $100 per annum for ratepayers who were pensioners prior to 1 July 2005. Adopted 2020/21 operating deficit of $5.7 million

·        Canterbury-Bankstown Council – Additional voluntary pensioner rebate of $40 per annum. Adopted 2020/21 operating deficit of $33.8 million.

·        Sutherland Shire Council - Additional voluntary pensioner rebate of $105 per annum, providing that the eligible pensioner has been a ratepayer for at least 3 consecutive years. Adopted 2020/21 operating deficit of $3 million.

Financial Implications

22.    Council provides the mandatory rebate to eligible pensioners under section 575 of the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act), up to a maximum of $250 per rate assessment. The NSW Government grants a subsidy of 55% on rate rebates. Council’s share of the mandatory subsidy equates to approximately $900,000 of lost income.

23.    Centrelink has advised Council officers that the number of welfare recipients cannot be disclosed. Therefore, the available data for providing an estimate on costs has occurred using the 2016 Census data on the LGA’s unemployment rate.

24.    The table below highlights different examples of support currently being provided via the Debt Management and Hardship Policy:

Ratepayer

Residential

Residential

Residential

Residential

Business

Reason

Unemployment, Injury/Illness

COVID-19 Business Closure

COVID-19 Hospitality Business Closure

COVID-19 Aviation Flight Attendant

COVID-19 Impact (Business closure/Job loss)

Outstanding Balance

$12,000

1,000

$1,300

$360

$3,000

Interest Rebate 

$840

$70

$90

$25

$210

 

25.    Council’s last captured unemployment rate was 6.5%, comparative to the NSW average of 6.3%. Therefore, assuming 6.5% of our LGA’s ratepayers are unemployed, this would equate to approximately 3,500 potential recipients. Including Pensioners, the total welfare recipients could be 11,500.

26.    If implemented, it is estimated that the average level of support (waiver of penalty interest) for Centrelink JobSeeker recipients would be $70-$100 annually.

27.    The table below highlights a projected financial impact based on pensioners and other welfare recipients receiving a rebate.

28.    Note: Model 1 is our current situation within the Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP) and has a forecast deficit in 2021/22 of $11.8 million and Model 3 is the preferred forecast which includes the New Rates 2021 SRV and $12 million in savings. The model 3 forecast deficit in 2021/22 is $4.4 million.

Rebate Amount

$25

$50

$75

$100

$150

Approximate Recipients

11,500

11,500

11,500

11,500

11,500

Financial Impact

$287,500

$575,000

$862,500

$1,150,000

$1,725,000

Adopted 2021/22 Forecast Operating Deficit (Model 1 LTFP)

($12,084,500)

($12,372,000)

($12,659,500)

($12,947,000)

($13,522,000)

Proposed 2021/22 Forecast Operating Deficit with SRV (Model 3 LTFP)

($4,731,500)

($5,019,000)

($5,306,500)

($5,594,000)

($6,169,000)

29.    As highlighted in the Quarterly Budget Review adopted by Council on 22 February 2021, the proposed amendments to the 2020/21 Operational Budget resulted in a new forecast operating deficit of $3.2 million, which is a material decline of $1.3 million from the previous Quarter 1 Budget Review.

30.    The decline was materially attributed to the increase in legal expenditure of $1.3 million. The legal fees increase is because of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation into two Georges River Councillors.

31.    In addition, as highlighted in the 2020/21 budget briefings, the New Rates 2021 report and the Quarterly Budget Review for period ended 31 December 2020, Council’s current financial position is in a high-risk category in that further deterioration of the financial position and cash position could place Council in the position of not being able to fund operational expenditure commitments such as salaries for staff.

32.    The recent report by the NSW Productivity Commission has highlighted that the average rates per capita of Georges River Council ($454) is below the NSW average ($591). 

33.    The table below highlights the difference between Georges River Council and the NSW average, even with the proposed SRV.

 

Georges River Council current

Average Other States

Average NSW

Proposed with the SRV

Per Capita Rate Revenue

$454

$835

$591

$545

34.    It is recommended that Council utilise the resources of the Federal Government by keeping Centrelink recipient status as a means of eligibility. Employing a separate system for assessing hardship would require additional resources and systems to ensure an adequately controlled eligibility and assessment process.

35.    Expanding the current option (monthly payment plan with no penalty interest) in the Debt Management and Hardship Policy for Pensioners to those on JobSeeker, could be accommodated on current resourcing levels.

36.    It is noted that Council must manage the risk of a slow-down in cash receipts for annual operating funds and the inability to commence debt recovery on a greater portion of Council’s debts. Assuming an average annual rate of $1,200 and the previously reported unemployment rate of 6.5%, this would equate to over $4 million in annual cash payments being received over a longer timeframe.

37.    Council has had positive take up of the hardship payment arrangements promoted from June 2020. The statutory penalty interest for late rates and charges payments is set by the Minister of Local Government. The interest rate is currently 7%.

38.    Many Council’s heavily rely on this interest to recover the gap in cash for operational functions in the event a payment is delayed. By providing an interest-free payment plan, Council has been able to continue to manage the inflow of rates for operational costs such as salaries, whilst also providing relief for ratepayers suffering hardship.

 

Risk Implications

39.    Council could not obtain information on how many ratepayers were receiving Federal Government financial assistance or how many ratepayers are below the current Henderson Poverty Line of $1,113.63 per week, inclusive of housing costs, for a family comprising two adults, one of whom is working, and two dependent children (as at September 2020)

40.    The risk of not being able to correctly forecast the cost to Council of providing a LIRR, coupled with the current financial position of Council places Council in a further high-risk operating environment, in terms of not being able to meet financial commitments such as salary costs and contractual obligations.

41.    If Council’s budget operations are aligned to model three of the long term plan, it may be in a position to expand the hardship program to include a voluntary rebate in future years but until a surplus is generated, it would not be recommended as per section 8B of the Local Government Act.

42.    Officers have reinforced the need for an increase in rates revenue or a substantial reduction in non-mandated services during the annual budget workshops (briefings) that are held with Councillors each year to prepare the annual budget.

43.    Councillors have prioritised the provision of quality services to the community without reductions in service levels and have resolved to incur annual operating deficits as a result. Details of Council’s expenditure across all services for the last four years is contained in Council’s Annual Budget Papers, the end of year Audited Financial Statements and Council’s Annual Report.

44.    At its July 2020 meeting, the Audit Risk and Improvement Committee (ARIC) comprehensively reviewed and discussed Council’s Budget for 2020-2021 and the Long Term Financial Plan projections to 2028-2029.

45.    The ARIC expressed concern over the projected operating and cash flow deficits and that the estimates indicate that Council will not be financially sustainable, and this will expose Council to significant risks to service delivery, governance, and reputation.

46.    The current and continuing economic, financial, and social impact of COVID-19 will further exacerbate these risks. The ARIC noted that Management had implemented plans for cost savings measures. Whilst such measures are important, the ARIC is concerned that they will be inadequate to address financial sustainability which may threaten the significant progress achieved since merger in harmonising Council’s processes, systems, risk management, governance, and service delivery.

47.    In this regard, the ARIC recommended that Council consider measures to immediately address the key financial sustainability risk, particularly regarding increasing revenues to secure Council’s immediate and long-term future. 

48.    It is considered that providing enhanced payment flexibility to Georges River ratepayers suffering hardship, rather than providing additional cash rebates and thereby increasing Council’s deficit, would assist in reducing the risk to Council’s financial sustainability.

Community Engagement

49.    Community engagement was conducted on the Debt Management and Hardship Policy, including a 28-day exhibition period, allowing the community to comment on the content of the Policy.

50.    Council did not include any voluntary pensioner rebate in the publicly exhibited 2020/2021 draft Budget. No public submissions were received by Council requesting inclusion of an additional voluntary pensioner, or other rebates in response to the exhibition of the draft Budget.

 

 

 

 

File Reference

D21/54833

 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1

SEIFA Index 2016

 


Georges River Council -            Finance and Governance Committee - Monday, 12 April 2021

FIN020-21              2021/22 Budget Consideration: Proposed Amendment to the Debt Management and Hardship Policy (Low Income Rate Rebate)

[Appendix 1]           SEIFA Index 2016

 

 

Page 0

 

 


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Monday, 12 April 2021                                              Page 0

CONFIDENTIAL ITEMS (CLOSED MEETING)

Council's Code of Meeting Practice allows members of the public present to indicate whether they wish to make representations to the meeting, before it is closed to the public, as to whether that part of the meeting dealing with any or all of the matters listed should or should not be considered in closed session.

 

Recommendation

That in accordance with the provisions of Part 1 of Chapter 4 of the Local Government Act 1993, the following matters be considered in closed Meeting at which the press and public are excluded.

 

FIN012A-21       Property Matter - Taylors Reserve, Lugarno (Creation of Right of Way)

(Report by Head of Strategic Property)

THAT in accordance with the provisions of Part 1 of Chapter 4 of the Local Government Act 1993, the matters dealt with in this report be considered in closed Council Meeting at which the press and public are excluded. In accordance with Section 10A(2) (c) it is considered the matter information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom the Council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business.

THAT in accordance with Section 10D it is considered that if the matter were discussed in an open Council Meeting, it would on balance, be contrary to the public interest as it information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom the Council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business.

 

FIN013A-21       Property Matter - Proposed Dedication for Road Widening and Grant of Easement for Access - Louis Terrace, Hurstville

(Report by Strategic Property Specialist)

THAT in accordance with the provisions of Part 1 of Chapter 4 of the Local Government Act 1993, the matters dealt with in this report be considered in closed Council Meeting at which the press and public are excluded. In accordance with Section 10A(2) (c) it is considered the matter information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom the Council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business.

THAT in accordance with Section 10D it is considered that if the matter were discussed in an open Council Meeting, it would on balance, be contrary to the public interest as it information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom the Council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business.

 

FIN014A-21       Norm O'Neil Cricket Training Centre - Management Agreement (Commercial-in-Confidence)

(Report by Manager Premium Facilities)

THAT in accordance with the provisions of Part 1 of Chapter 4 of the Local Government Act 1993, the matters dealt with in this report be considered in closed Council Meeting at which the press and public are excluded. In accordance with Section 10A(2) (d(ii)) it is considered the matter commercial information of a confidential nature that would, if disclosed confer a commercial advantage on a competitor of the council.

THAT in accordance with Section 10D it is considered that if the matter were discussed in an open Council Meeting, it would on balance, be contrary to the public interest as it commercial information of a confidential nature that would, if disclosed confer a commercial advantage on a competitor of the council.

 

That in accordance with the provisions of Section 11(2) of the Act, the reports and correspondence relating to these matters be withheld from the press and public.