Media release: Report on Local Government 2019

The Auditor-General for New South Wales, Margaret Crawford, released her report today on the Local Government sector. The report focuses on key observations and findings from the 2018-19 financial audits of councils and joint organisations.

Unqualified audit opinions were issued on the financial statements for 134 councils and 11 joint organisations. The audit opinion for Bayside’s 2017-18 and 2018-19 financial statements were disclaimed. Three audits are still in progress and will be included in next year’s report.

The report highlights a number of areas where there has been improvement. There was a reduction in errors identified in council financial statements and high risk issues reported in audit management letters. More councils have audit, risk and improvement committees and internal audit functions. Risk management practices and fraud control systems have also improved.

The report also found that councils could do more to be better prepared for the new accounting standards, asset management practices could be strengthened, and information technology controls and cyber security management could be improved.

The Auditor-General recommended that the Office of Local Government within the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment develop a cyber security policy by 30 June 2021 to ensure a consistent response to cyber security risks across councils.

Further information

Please contact Scott Stanton, Acting Deputy Auditor-General on 9275 7347 or by email