Douglas Shire Council – Better than expected opening financial position

Douglas Shire Council has officially financially separated from Cairns Regional Council with a better than expected opening position.

Independent auditor Grant Thornton has signed off on the final financial statements prepared by the Financial Due Diligence Working Group. The final financial statements show a net cash balance of $19.371 million for Douglas Shire Council as at December 31, 2013. This figure includes de-amalgamation costs of $2.938 million.

The better than anticipated opening financial position means de-amalgamation costs have been absorbed without rate increases and the drawdown of a Queensland Treasury Corporation working capital facility has been avoided.

Douglas Shire Council Mayor Julia Leu said the strong opening financial position was a fantastic result, especially considering Queensland Treasury Corporation’s estimate of a closing cash balance as at June 30, 2012, of $9.085 million was exceeded for the same period by more than 60 per cent.

“We are in a strong financial position and our cash balance well exceeds our liabilities,” she said.

“This is a fantastic result for the people of Douglas and another endorsement of our resourceful and very capable Council.”

Mayor Leu said the strong opening financial position was supported by some outstanding achievements already recorded by Douglas Shire Council just four months into its existence.

“The task of creating a new Council was a challenging one considering the tight timeframes but I think the results in the first four months speak for themselves,” Mayor Leu said.

“In addition to dealing with a major cyclone event which caused an estimated $20 million in damage, Council has reached many milestones in a short period.

“Council is on track to develop our Corporate Plan which outlines our goals and actions for the next five years.

“We have developed and implemented a community engagement framework, a community grants and resources program and an events strategy.

“We are facilitating the introduction of technology that will increase efficiencies and deliver improved service delivery and management of road assets.

“Council has also begun a review of the existing planning scheme for the Douglas Shire and established a working group for our Landscape Management Plan.

“These are just a few examples of what Council has achieved in a very short timeframe while also managing the de-amalgamation process and a damaging cyclone and it should give confidence to our communities that their future is in very capable hands.”

First printed 30 April. Reproduced with permission.