Ipswich City Council Administration Building and Council Chambers.
Ipswich City Council Administration Building and Council Chambers. David Nielsen

'It's weak': Audit office slams council's cash management

A LACK of documentation to support transactions was one of several financial issues raised by the Queensland Audit Office about Ipswich City Council.

In its audit of Queensland's local governments, the office warned "good governance and financial stewardship" was not a priority for many of the state's 76 councils.

It singled out the previous operating procedures of Ipswich City Council as "an example of the consequences of not addressing significant internal control and governance weaknesses".

In a damning report, the audit office noted the most significant issues within the council were insufficient documentation and approvals to support some revenue and expense transactions, inappropriate expenses incurred and a lack of oversight over controlled entities.

The audit office first raised concerns about the financial management of the council in its 2014 audit.

"Eleven issues were identified and reported to council as part of that audit," it noted.

The report also raised concerns about internal controls at Queensland councils, pointing out there were 273 "significant control weaknesses" in 57 councils last financial year.

The Audit Office described some of them as systemic, with 62 per cent of the problems remaining unsolved from previous years, allowing for weak governance and ineffective oversight to be "common throughout the sector".

"The inaction of many councils in addressing significant (high-risk), long-outstanding, internal control weaknesses indicates that internal controls are not valued across the sector," the report said.

The audit office's assessment of Ipswich's financial statements identified people "with increased potential to misuse council funds".


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