In recent Council meetings and a newspaper article there has been a claim Georges River Council is "missing millions" in developer contributions. I want to reassure the community this is not the case.
Developers are required to make contributions for community and infrastructure purposes.
Private certifiers have the responsibility to ensure these contributions are paid to Council prior to issuing construction certificates for development.
In an audit initiated by the General Manager in 2018 it was found certifiers operating in the former Kogarah Council area had instances where contributions had not been paid.
Some funds referred to in the article had already been collected by Georges River Council and other amounts are not yet due to be paid.
This instance has highlighted the importance of good governance, and it is why we have had an independent Audit Risk and Improvement Committee (ARIC) since 2016.
Council had the foresight, despite it not being a legal requirement, to have this independent oversight in place over the last six years and now the Office of Local Government is mandating for all NSW councils to do the same by March 2022.
ARIC is independent and external to Council and provides oversight to Council's activities.
The staff audit that identified the developer contributions issue is only one of the numerous audits reported to the ARIC as part of the Council's 3-year (2018-2021) Audit Plan.
Council completes an average of 6 audits per year. The ARIC annual report, presented to Council and available to the public, is a health check for the organisation and it has endorsed the actions taken by Council.
Monitoring private certifiers to ensure developer contributions are being paid is not something most councils undertake due to it being extremely resource intensive.
However, our Council is committed to pursuing these contributions to ensure our community gets what it is entitled to and our staff are to be congratulated for pursuing the unpaid funds.
Georges River Council is committed to good governance and being open and transparent.
I ask any members of the community who have concerns about unpaid developer contributions to report them to either the Office of Local Government, the NSW Ombudsman, the Independent Commission Against Corruption or use Council's online corruption reporting tool.
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