Friday, February 03, 2006

Death of a city

City Melbourne reports a five milion dollar deficit in fees and fines as retail trade continues to suffer

Melbourne City Council has reported an unbudgeted short fall in income as the amount collect in fees and fines declines.

Herald Sun today reports that there is a Deficit of fees, fines

Financial Management under John So is one of the worst on record as John So continues to embark on a spending frenzy with extravagant overseas trips and a seriously diminishing working capital ratio.


Judging by the quality of data and reporting in the Council's Travel Register (published yesterday) there is reason for concern.

The Travel Register is an electronic whiteboard and review of the Travel Register highlights serious problems with the governance and accounting departments. Review of Travel Register data shows double counting entries, incorrect dates, no sequential number preventing effective effective audits, poor managemnt reporting and control as data recorded is readily changed and deleted whilst management's eyes are off the ball (More on the Travel Register later).

Deline in City Revenue
The decline in revenue as reported in the Herald Sun could also indicate that the City Council's and Stet Governments policies are driving people away from the City, as consumers they seek better and cheaper locations to shop.

The City Council having taxed the City to Death.
Recent increases in parking over 50% over the last 12 months, far exceeding inflation, poor strategic planning and opportunities lost in Major Projects development over the last 10 years all contibute to the City's decline.

The City of Melbourne is no longer a place to visit of for the big "family" day out.
The Bourke Street entertainment precinct is non-family friendly and other venues such as the Crown Casino designed for adult entertainment only. Children are no longer catered for with the relocation of the Museum to the outskirts of the City provides further reasons not to visit Melbourne on a family day out.

Why would you take the kids to the City when it costs so much, transport is difficult, parking expensive and there is not much to do apart from visiting Polly Woodside or the Aquarium and walk the Banks of the Yarra past expensive shops and crown casino.

As to going shopping forget it.

It is much easier to find a car park and shop in the suburban mega shopping centres dotted throughout greater Melbourne.

The logistics of supporting major shopping complexes such as Myers in the City Centre are an increasing burden. Myers will soon close or scale down its inner city activities and then what? Its all down hill from there as Melbourne continues its commercial retail decline.

We have already seen the demise of Diamaru and the Queen Victoria development in Lonsdale Street is already reporting difficulty in sustaining business.

Melbourne is not immune to economic pressures.

If consumers find it easier, cheaper and more enjoyable to shop elsewhere then they will. Our City Council and successive State Governments continue to kill off the Central business district with over-restrictive, excessive tax proposals. The congestion tax is another disaster waiting in the wings.

Next stop property values in the City will collapse

Council's rate revenue will take a nose dive adding further to the City Council's problems. Melbourne City Council needs to trim back and reduce the costs of doing business in Melbourne so as to make it a viable and economically sustainable in addition to address peoples transport needs.

When was the last time you heard of the City of Melbourne undertaking a review of expenditure and costing cutting? Anyone?
Instead it is tax tax tax and spend spend spend. The City Council is oblivious to reality, it keeps empire building and coming up with extravagant schemes to spend more money whilst unaware of financial impact it is having on business. It was not for the paper value of property investments that help underpin and prop up the banks and financial institutions Melbourne would have shut its doors long ago.

The City Council must begin to show fiscal responsibility and reduce costs first before it seeks to expand and improve on services not just spend more.

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