Council credit card use reviewed
Tasmania’s auditor-general has reported on the use of credit cards by Tasmanian local council managers and elected members.
It found a string of instances in which credit cards were for purchases that “were not consistent with responsible expenditure of public funds”.
It found different people had different interpretations of the “accountability standards”.
There were some clear policy breaches, and the report concluded that policies should be strengthened.
Most of the state's local councils issue credit cards to general managers, but just 13 gave them to mayors.
Hobart City Council is the only body that had not issued a credit card to its general manager, though it did give cards to aldermen.
The report suggested they could be reimbursed instead.
Mr Whitehead called for a new statewide policy that provides clear standards for the acceptable use of council credit cards.
The report also said policy guidelines for alternative online payment measures need to be stronger.
Five councils say they have already updated their policies.
Local Government Association of Tasmania chief executive Dr Katrena Stephenson said a new policy on credit card use is being devised.
“He [the auditor-general] said there were no systemic issues, there was no fraudulent activity and while councils have some room to improve, in general the report was very positive about the efficient and flexible use of credit cards,” she said.
Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein said the findings were concerning.
“The Government will immediately begin working with the local government sector to implement all of the recommendations,” he said.