Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Consolidated expenses

Council administration's efforts and extent of non-disclosure and avoidance borders on corruption

Melbourne City Council has published its Councillor Expense Statements but still has failed to publish the Travel Register.

The graph below shows the consolidated expenses from December 2, 2004 to December 31, 2005 according to the information published by the City Council.

We have yet to do more detailed analysis but something tells us there is data and expenses missing which might explain why the Council are not prepared to publish the Travel Register.

Last time they Council published the Travel Register we discovered thousands of dollars of undisclosed Councillor expenses missing. The Council's excuse... The expenses had not been fully acquitted... some 18 months after the Council had paid out the money.(Our argument - If the money has been paid then it sould be listed. No secret bank account of payemnts under the table)

Missing in the above graph data is the cost of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor's Limousine (Est at over $160,000 for the year), Internal Catering (est at $250,000.00) and other expenses that have not been disclosed and are hidden away under other budget items and creative accounting techniques. (We are trying to keep up with them - something our elected Councillors should be asking questions about but don't - maybe they have been compromised or bought by the administration)

The ongoing refusal of the Melbourne City Council to publish the Travel Register and other expense information is inefficient at best - outright corrupt at worst. The extraordinary extent that the administration goes to to avoid disclosure and accountability and the level of contempt they show towards the elected Council seriously borders on corruption.

I want to assure our readers and the Council Administration we will not let up on them until they come clean and provide open and transparent governance. and publish all public documents on the internet.

We will continue to hold them to account.

Added: 2 Feb 2006

July 1 2001 to November 30, 2004 Consolidated Councillor expense statements graph

By way of comparison and for the public record teh graph below show the consolidated travel expenses for teh previous Melbourne City Council July 2001 to November 2004

Note: Missing is over $8,000.00 atributed to Cr Anthony Nicholson - unaccounted for and not included in the published expense statements. We identified this problem and although the Council had paid-out this money it still is not listed in the published Councillor Expenses, WHY?

We call on the Council auditors to provide an explaination, its been well over two years and surely money paid-out is an expense and not dependant on Cr Nicholson proviing receipts. If no answers are received soon we will ask the State Auditor General's department to investigate.

The published expense statements do not list:

  • the costs associated with the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor's Limosines.
  • allowances paid to the Lord Mayor ($380,000), Deputy Lord Mayor ($155,454 ) and Councillors ($68,363)
  • internal catering (estimated to be worth over $750,000)
  • Other costs have been hidden and attributed to other budget items and not disclosed.

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