Council has indeed perfected the art of camouflage in its production of the annual budget. Broad categories that are not defined become the perfect tool for obfuscation and lack of accountability. Figures, prognostications, and actual business plans seem to be nothing more than works of fiction. A few examples should suffice.

Readers will remember the fuss that Delahunty initially made in regards to the GESAC Wellness Centre – that it was lacking in ‘social responsibility’ and had the potential to damage local businesses. The image below comes from the minutes that gave the go ahead for the completion of this facility. Please note the figures –

Now, less than a year later we find on page 223 of the draft budget – The Wellness Centre is expected to generate income of $434k and incur costs of $405k for 2017-18.

How on earth can the ‘cost calculation’ skyrocket to this extent in less than a year? And what happened to the $120,000 profit once operational?

There are other issues with this centre too. The 2016/17 budget allocated $250,000 for ‘completion’ of the centre. Yet on the 21st March Council Meeting the following tender for the Wellness Centre was included for the in camera discussions

That Council:

  1. appoints Ducon Maintenance Pty Ltd, ACN 150 941 174 as the contractor under Tender number 2017.013 for an amount of $499,273.00 exclusive of GST.

GST would add approximately another $50,000 hence we are looking at well over $500,000 before the first penny comes in. In other words, the centre will not be running at a profit – it will be running at a loss once all the figures are added up!

Other figures for GESAC are also questionable. For instance the current draft budget provides us with these statements-

Addition of fans/chiller to the stadium, outside gym area on the first floor outside the group fitness area and replacement of pool equipment – $210,000 (page 90)

Then a few pages later we have the identical ‘explanation’ but the cost suddenly becomes $40,000 less!

Addition of fans/chiller to the stadium, outside gym area on the first floor outside the group fitness area and replacement of pool equipment – $170,000 (page 93)

One and one never seems to add up to two in Glen Eira! Statements and figures should be crystal clear to even primary school children – unless of course the objective is to camouflage the truth!

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