Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Free Booze, Food and no expense

City Council refuses to disclose cost of Council's wining and dining at ratepayers' expense

Melbourne City Council on Tuesday, February 7, failed to consider a report calling on the City council to provide a financial breakdown of departmental costs for in-house catering (food, beverages and free alcohol) which is believed to cost ratepayers' around one million dollars.

City of Melbourne private club - free food and booze paid for by the ratepayer. No acountability required.

The City of Melbourne provides Councillor's and Senior Staff with a fully-stocked top shelf bar, free snacks and regular 3 course meals. Whilst some Councillors regular report on the poor quality and standard of food served by the City Council's caterers the costs for this service are not cheap but remain hidden.

Censorship and ongoing avoidance of disclosure

The City Council is so keen to protect their fringe benefits that they refused to consider or even make copies of the report available for public scrutiny. The report was listed for consideration on Tuesday's Finance and Corporate Performance (sic) meeting, chaired by Labor Councilor Brian Shanahan. The report called on the City Council to publish a break down of the financial cost of in-house catering and the provision of alcohol as well as the costs asscoiated with the Lord Maypr and Deputy Lord Mayor's Council funded Limousine.

Ignorance is bliss

In previous years this information was readily available and published in the monthly financial statements. The Council no longer provides this information. It is understood that not even the elected Council are aware of the full extent of costs of in-house catering and the cost of the Limousines.

The City of Melbourne maintain a multimillion dollar accounting system and we understand that a break-down of in-house catering and transport cost is readily available but the Council continue to go to extraordinary levels to prevent this information being made public. WHY? Councillors are unaware of the full extent of costs. (One Councilor was reported as saying they were not aware as to full the extent of costs associated with Council's staff overseas and interstate travel - over $400,000 in the last 12 months - having only just found out when the Council finally published its Travel Register last week)

Too Drunk to Govern

The Alcohol bill alone is in the 10's of thousands of dollars as Councillors and Senior staff help themselves to a free drink or two or more.

We fail to see why ratepayers' should be paying for Councillors and staff drink tab. It certainly is not part of their duties. Were not saying that the Council should not host the occasional Town Hall dinner/function where alcohol is served but Council certainly should not be providing a fee bar - all you can drink service during the working day. There are questions of responsibility, liability and legalities. There are numerous regular reports of Councillors being too drunk to fulfill their duties or even drive home as a result of a day at the office.

Our City Council should stop trying to avoid accountability and inform the public of the true cost of in-house catering and Council's alcohol expenses.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good call Anthony, this is a rort that must be exposed.

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