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Council posts $3m underspend as projects flounder

Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018

By Michael Murphy

City Council failed to complete more than $3 million worth of projects last financial year and has apportioned a large share of the blame on “previous senior management”.

Council’s chief financial officer Jay Nankivell listed unfinished projects and the money allocated to them last financial year in a report to councillors last week.

Mr Nankivell acknowledged Council’s management team had lacked skill and expertise in project management and other things had hampered progress, such as the weather, but he fired a salvo at Council’s previous team for Council’s current predicament.

“Despite affirmation from previous senior management that all projects were ‘shovel ready’, the reality is that limited planning of forward works programs sees Council struggling to produce asset management plans and construction-ready plans to undertake the required work,” he wrote in his report.

“This lack of pre-planning subsequently creates a lag component for the capital works program due to the fact that time that was meant to be utilised on construction/project management is then lost to planning a project that was supposed to be ‘shovel ready’.”

Big ticket items from last year’s budget that Council did not complete during the financial year included:

Construction of Covered Waste Collection Area ($407,629) - project is now expected to be completed by the end of this financial year. 

Oxide/Wolfram Street Roundabout ($300,000) - reconstruction of the roundabout was not started because of the weather.

Mosque Conservation and Reinterpretation Project ($220,096) - preliminary design and heritage assessment has been done, seeking quotes from contractors.

Patton Park Revitalisation Project $395,000 - procurement and design work has begun.

Local Road Reseal Program ($243,644) - could not be completed because of the weather.

Administration Building Lift Replacement ($228,907) - the project is now expected to be completed by June 2019.

Telephone Network Upgrade ($196,963) - project delayed in 2016/17 to allow time for investigation of technical options and user consultations before tendering. 

Aquatic Centre Cul-de-sac ($65,000) - put on hold pending completion of the Telstra monopole installation.

A further report will be tabled at the October Ordinary Council meeting as a part of the Quarterly Budget Review on a revised capital works program for 2018/19.

General Manager James Roncon said last week he intended to shuffle money around in the capital works budget so he can fund a $1.5m plan to build a community hub at the back of the Town Hall Facade in Argent Street.

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