Never let the facts get in the way of Political Diatribe.
At recent Forums, the Mayor often mentions that this Council inherited an $11m debt and suggests Council would have been placed into Administration by the State Government. Considering bordering Councils had far greater debts than Liverpool. Its debt, as with most Councils, was due to remedial action Councils took to support ratepayers and businesses against the impact of Covid. Liverpool City Councils’ budget at the time was around $300m, hence $11m represented around 3.7% of that, no State Governments will place any Council into Administration for exceeding its budget by less than 5% of its total budget, it’s simply scare mongering Political nonsense!
As a comparison it’s worth noting Councils with far greater Net Cost Of Services (NCOS) debts than Liverpool during 2020-21 were Canterbury Bankstown $33m, Camden $29m, Penrith $20m and Blacktown $17m, only Campbeltown and Fairfield Councils had a small surplus of $2m and $5m respectively. Hence according to the Mayors’ logic, Councils with deficits greater than Liverpool would be in danger of having an Administrator appointed long before Liverpool, it simply did not and would not have occurred. It was a lie concocted to make it appear that the previous term of Council, 2016-21, had poorly managed its finances and attempted to justify terminating a competent CEO that led Council through its most challenging time in its history.
In fact, the opposite occurred, Liverpool City Council spent a record $400m on infrastructure projects within the LGA, no previous term of Council had ever spent such a large amount.
It’s also worth noting the Mayor never mentions the fact that during his previous term of Council it incurred a debt of $8.2m during 2014 and passed on a debt of $2m accumulated during 2016 to the next Council, bear in mind no Covid existed to blame the deficit onto other than wasteful spending!
The newly elected Council of September 2016 had to address badly managed projects such as the Macquarie Mall, which exceeded its budget by several million dollars and generated extensive delays affecting many businesses within the Mall. Events such as “Starri-Sari nights” and “Eat Street” were put on hold to prevent further budget blowouts. Then Covid came along and prevented planned Civic functions.
Another interesting point often mentioned at these Forums is inheriting the cost of Civic Place, irrespective of the fact that it will be “self funding” via commercial leases and have no impact on Councils services. Civic Place will be the most iconic facility within the Liverpool CBD and a worthwhile replacement for the Administration Centre previously located at 1 Hoxton Park Road, opened in 1987 and destroyed by the disastrous fire of August 2010.
The benefits of the new Civic Place are that it will cater for most of Councils’ staff rather than having them spread over multiple centres, as such, it will be far more cost-effective and future proof Administration requirements for the foreseeable future.
Another issue often mentioned is Councils’ apparent obsession with the backlog of Development Applications (DA) processed in comparison to bordering Councils. The percentage difference is relatively small, despite Liverpool City Council having the highest housing growth rate compared to neighbouring Councils.
Customer Service Request statistics show that DA enquiries are a relatively small percentage of overall enquiries, yet Council spends a disproportionate amount of time and money addressing this issue over many equally if not more important issues such as the much greater backlog of compliance issues. One has to wonders why that is so.
Above factual comments are in defence of the previous term of Council and its efforts in providing community facilities. Far too often political diatribe and lies are used to discredit rival Political interests at the expense of truth and facts.