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Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Jenny Whitney said Council was advised yesterday of thecompletion of two separate investigations by the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) into the Whitsunday Regional Council.
“The investigations found no evidence that former or current Council employees committedcriminal offences,” she said.
“This does not change the fact that the Whitsunday community still has a large debt of $71.5million to pay back due to the legacy of the previous Council’s overspend.
“We have already paid down $6.3 million of this debt, which was at $77.8 million at its peak.
“We believe the completion of this investigation is a line in the sand for the Whitsunday RegionalCouncil and the Whitsunday community and it is time to move on.
“I know the community is tired of hearing the blame game about the debt the previous Councilracked up.
“The reality is that in the two years I have been Mayor, the current governance has turned thefinancial position of the Whitsunday Regional Council around and has started paying down thisdebt.
“I would like to thank the Whitsunday community for their ongoing patience and support of thedifficult decisions which had to be made to restore responsible financial management for theWhitsunday Regional Council.
“I’d also like to thank the current Council and staff for their commitment to working within thelegislation and guidelines to avoid any further financial implications and burdens on the community.
“Through this difficult period Council and staff have shown good governance and leadership, toprovide sound financial management, which will ultimately benefit the whole community.
“We have proven good governance by delivering the 2011 Natural Disaster Relief and RecoveryArrangements (NDRRA) project within scope and eligibility.
“We have a clear plan which is working; we are focused on paying down debt and restoringresponsible financial management for the future benefit of the whole Whitsunday region.
“Council will reduce the debt to $67 million by the end of 2014-15 and continue to pay this debtdown in the coming years.
“The last two years have not been easy for Council or the Whitsunday community with somedifficult decisions needing to be made.
“Council had to make the difficult decisions around rate rises, gaining emergent funding,introducing a levy and constraining expenditure, in the 2013-14 year.
“In the 2014-15 budget debt reduction was achieved because of the measures taken in 2013-14year and the further difficult decisions made in the 2014-15 budget around selling surplus assets, further constraining expenditure, keeping a reduced levy in place and including a moderate 4% rate rise,” she said.
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