Transparency in local government reached a new high today with the launch of the Department of Local Government’s website MyCouncil.
In a first for WA, ratepayers can now access information to find out how their council is raising, spending and managing money and compare it to other local governments.
The interactive website, which cost about $240,000 to set up, hosts key financial data from all councils across the state for the last four financial years.
It shows where councils are spending their 2014-15 combined total of $2 billion in rates and more than 280 million in Commonwealth Government Financial Assistance Grants as well as how they are managing $40 billion worth of assets.
It provides tools including graphs and charts so ratepayers can easily compare data between councils.
Ratepayers can access all information for all councils.
MyCouncil publishes comprehensive data on the Financial Health Indicator of each council, ratios that councils must work out each year with the benchmark set at 70 and indicating a sound FHI.
A zero FHI means a local government needs to take serious action while scores in the 90s indicate excellent financial health, with 100 the maximum score.
The Western Australian Treasury Corporation developed the FHI to assess ratios including ability to meet short term costs, manage and replace assets, repay debts, meet operational and capital costs and create revenue.
Information on the website was sourced from local governments’ reportable requirements and aims strengthen their accountability and performance.
The website, which will be maintained by the department, will be updated around March each year.
The website will go online today at mycouncil.wa.gov.au.