Bega Valley Shire Council’s audited financial statements for the 2021-22 financial year are available for public viewing and will be presented to Councillors and the public on 22 March.
Director Business and Governance, Iliada Bolton said the statements are available on Council’s website and in the shire’s libraries.
“The NSW Audit Office will present and explain the financial statements to Councillors before the next Council meeting. The public are invited to attend the presentation at Council Chambers in the Commemorative Civic Centre, Bega, tomorrow at 11am,” Ms Bolton said.
“The Auditor General has issued a qualified audit opinion in the report, due to Council not recognising rural firefighting equipment as assets within ‘Infrastructure, property, plant and equipment’ in the Statement of Financial Position at 30 June 2022.
“At the 17 August 2022 Council meeting, Councillors supported Council’s objection to the NSW Government’s determination on ownership of Rural Fire Service (RFS) assets.
“As such, Council did not carry out a stocktake of RFS assets on behalf of the NSW Government and did not record RFS assets in our financial statements.
“In fact, we called on the NSW Government to take immediate action to permanently clear up inequities and inconsistencies around the accounting treatment of RFS assets by acknowledging that rural firefighting equipment is vested in, under the control of and, the property of the RFS and asked it to amend s119 of the Rural Fires Act 1997 to make it clear that RFS assets are not the property of any council.
“We are one of at least 37 councils that have received a qualified audit report based on the NSW Government’s position to mandate that councils must include RFS assets in their accounts.”
Contributing to the financial operating results, Ms Bolton said Council received, in advance, Financial Assistance Grants (an increase of $2.9 million from 2021) and $23.9 million in non-recurring Natural Disaster operational grants (an increase of $22.4 million from 2021) which were accounted for in the 2022 financial year.
“The impact of this is we are reporting an inflated net operating surplus because we received those grants in advance,” Ms Bolton said.