Frequently Asked Questions
Can councils request an extension to lodge their financial reports?
Yes. The General Manager can write to the Executive Director of Office of Local Government, Department of Planning and Environment requesting an extension. Requests for extensions to submit financial reports will not be approved unless there are extraordinary circumstances. Requests for extensions on the grounds of computer difficulties and/or lack of staff resources will not be considered extraordinary. ‘Extraordinary circumstance’ could be where a Council has been affected by a natural disaster.
There maybe be times when extensions may not be granted in particularly where a Council has sought extensions for several years in row or that matters arising from previous audit have not been addressed. In which case council will be required to provide evidence of plans to rectify the issue(s) as part of the Audit and Risk and Improvement Committee (ARIC) with the extension request.
When should a council apply for an extension?
A council should apply for an extension as soon as they are aware that they will not meet the legislative deadline. Once OLG receives the extension request, we will endeavour to respond within ten working days of submission of the request. Any request for an extension to lodge financial statements must be in writing and lodged no later than 17 October.
As stated in the Local Government Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting, applications for an extension must include a specified reason for the extension, a specified period for which the extension is sought, an attached copy of the audit notification of the council’s intention to seek an extension, and a copy of the lodgement dates of financial reports and details of extensions sought (irrespective of approval) for the previous three years.
Can councils request an extension to lodge their annual report?
No. It is noted that the Local Government Act, 1993 (the Act) does not authorise a similar extension in relation to a council’s annual report, of which the audited financial statements form a part. Section 428(1) of the Act currently provides that a council must prepare an annual report within five months after the end of the financial year. Section 428(5) of the Act requires councils to place a copy of the annual report on the council website and provide a copy to the Minister for Local Government.
Can councils request an extension to present their audited financial reports to the public?
No. Both the Local Government Act 1993 (Act) and Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework are clear regarding the timeline of exhibiting the audited financial reports, specifically sections 418 and 428 of the Act.
OLG does not have the power to approve an extension to present the audited financial reports to the public. Council needs to take this into consideration when requesting an extension to lodge their financial reports.
Who approves the financial report?
For the financial report to be approved it is required under section 215 of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021 to be made by a resolution of the council. It must be signed by the mayor, at least one other member of the council, the responsible accounting officer and the general manager of the council.
The independent auditor’s report must be signed by a delegate of the Auditor-General for New South Wales.
Does a council have to report its proposed borrowings to OLG?
OLG supports NSW TCorp in reporting of Proposed Borrowing Returns each year. Any proposed borrowing requires a resolution from council.
As specified in Section 230 of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021, General Managers are required to notify the Executive Director of Office of Local Government, Department of Planning and Environment of a borrowing under a loan contract within 7 days of the borrowing.
Other Important Resources:
Click on the links below for information about financial reporting, including information about the Code of Accounting Practice and goods and services tax.
- Council Circular 15-29 – Auditing of the Report on Infrastructure Assets (Special Schedule 7)
- Council Circular 11-23 – GST Certificate – Revised Requirements
- Local Government Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting
- Quarterly Budget Review Statement for NSW Local Government – PDF
- See also – Integrated Planning and Reporting.