Sydney councils sitting on unspent $1 billion stockpile: PCA

Sydney councils sitting on unspent $1 billion stockpile: PCA
Sydney councils sitting on unspent $1 billion stockpile: PCA

Sydney councils are sitting on more than $1 billion in unspent infrastructure funds, according to the latest research by the Property Council of Australia.

The figure of $1,091,078,000 in unspent funds across 27 councils was revealed in the Property Council’s latest audit of infrastructure levies. The calculation was based on local government financial statements for 2015-16. 

“Councils are sitting on a billion dollars in unspent funds, funds that should be spent on providing services for the local community – funding libraries, local parks, sporting grounds,” said a media release from the PCA. 

“This money is sitting in the bank earning interest, $30 million in interest over 2015/16, instead of being used for the local community. This money is provided to councils to boost local facilities but instead they are hoarding it,” said Jane Fitzgerald – NSW executive director of the PCA.

She said the research confirms the need for tighter controls that require councils to spend the funds swiftly on infrastructure rather than just leaving them in the bank.

  • The amount of unspent funds increased by just under $115 million over the past year, a rise of 11.7 per cent.
  • $594,527,000 was collected through levies in 2015-16, but only $510,052,000 was spent
  • $30,084,000 was earned in interest over 2015/16

“With a booming population and big new growth centres across Sydney, it is vital that this money is used to ease the pressure on our community, the money is no good to the community sitting in the bank, but it is good for the Council’s balance sheet,” said Fitzgerald.

“Those Councils fighting amalgamations using rate payers’ money should start focussing more on spending the levies collected for vital local infrastructure rather than political grandstanding in court.”

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PCA said audit is sourced directly from the financial statements of councils across metropolitan Sydney for 2015-16 so the data is supplied by councils. 

Data was available for 27 councils with some amalgamated councils not providing data and other councils simply not making the data public

Over the past four years, the amount of unspent levies has increased by over 40 per cent, the PCA said. 

Tags: 
Property Council Councils

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