BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL FINANCIAL PLAN 2011/2012

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1 BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL FINANCIAL PLAN 2011/

2 Purpose of the Financial Plan The financial plan is a component of Brisbane City Council s system of financial management. It helps ensure the financial sustainability of our assets and services by assisting in maintaining Council s financial capital and infrastructure capital over the long term. The financial plan is consistent with our long term financial forecast and the long term community plan. The plan will be consistent with the long term asset management plan. Council has a long term model which is used primarily for understanding its long-term financial sustainability by forecasting the long-term financial position over a thirty-five year period. Particular focus and scrutiny is given to the 10 year time period. Council s ten year financial plan is consistent with the financial forecast which is produced from the long term model. This financial plan relates to the 2011/2012 financial year and covers a period of 10 years. The financial plan is prepared in accordance with Council s Financial and Accounting Manual and Policies. As per the City of Brisbane Act and Regulations, the plan includes Council s debt, investment and revenue policies for the 2011/2012 financial year. The financial plan, debt, investment and revenue policies are reviewed annually in conjunction with the budget development phase. Goals The goals of the financial plan are to: Ensure Council s financial sustainability over the long term, (at least ten years and up to thirty-five years). Maintain and sustain the life of our community assets. Ensure the delivery of quality services to the community. Ensure our financial decisions address key inter-generational issues by allocating the whole of life asset costs between current and future ratepayers. Provide value for money for ratepayers. Meet credit metrics required by debt covenants, credit rating agencies or Government bodies. Ensure financial risk management frameworks are adhered to when making financial decisions

3 Financial Plan - Strategy Council will implement the financial plan relying on the following strategies: Taking into consideration the ten year financial view to ensure that the financial strategy objectives can be achieved in a financially sustainable manner and that these can be delivered in an effective and efficient manner. By making investment decisions that consider the whole of life costing for the investment whilst complying with our Investment Policy. Ensuring that our financial obligations, particularly debt levels are manageable and that debt is borrowed and used in accordance with our Debt Policy. Taking into consideration our levels of revenue to ensure that our operating ability is within a sustainable range. All revenue decisions or actions will be made with reference to our Revenue Policy. By applying sound contracting principles when we enter into contracts for supply of goods or services or the carrying out of work or the disposal of assets. We will do so by following the general principles of, value for money, open and effective competition, the development of competitive local business and industry, environmental protection; and ethical behaviour and fair dealing. Through the delivery of operational and capital programmes which are aligned with our Community Plan and Corporate Plan objectives. All capital and operational projects will be subject to rigorous business cases and prioritisation to ensure that the alignment is applied consistently before they are included in future spending plans within the financial plan. Taking into consideration our Long Term Asset Management Plan. Applying regular scrutiny by internal and external parties of results against our financial targets and indicators. Meeting all required and relevant industry, accounting and government standards. Reviewing and Refining the Financial Plan Council will continually review its financial plan by: Ensuring that any changes to Community or Corporate Plans are reflected in the financial strategy and financial forecasts shown in the plan. Being responsive to any emerging issues and including these in our forward planning. Undertaking an annual review process for both capital and operational projects which is part of our regular reviews and annual budget process. Considering policy changes before changing our spending plans. Considering the outcomes of any future community and/or rating consultation processes

4 The Annual Planning and Budget Process The budget development process involves Program Managers working with service delivery arms to develop program plans and budget proposals for consideration by the Lord Mayor's Expenditure Review Committee (LMERC). LMERC assesses and refines the program plans and budgets proposed to deliver these. In June each year, the Lord Mayor presents a plan and budget to full Council. Council may amend the plan and budget presented by the Lord Mayor. The Council approved program plans and budget form part of the financial plan s current year information. The Budget and Long Term Forecasting process defines what available resources will exist and are able to be allocated between essential services and discretionary spending. Spending will reflect community and Council priorities, and therefore providing a framework for the preparation of current and future annual budgets. The budgets evolve and feed into the ten year financial plan. The framework for long term financial planning is not rigid as it needs to continue to reflect changes and fluctuations to predictions regarding expected service delivery, infrastructure needs and relevant industry and economic data. Long Term Financial Planning Council has a long term model which is used primarily for understanding its long-term financial sustainability by forecasting the long-term financial position over a thirty-five year period. Particular focus and scrutiny is given to the ten year time period. Council s ten year financial plan is consistent with financial forecasts from the long term model. The model focuses on: Illustrating the capital affordability of Council; Demonstrating the amount of future borrowings required (and is affordable); and Finding alternative options to additional borrowings. The model is separated into three main sections: Input; Calculation; and Output. The key inputs and forecast assumptions are as follows: Financial statements; Population, properties and their growth rates; Forecast revenue and expense growth rates; Fixed assets; Debt; CPI; Capital Expenditure; One-Off Projects / Other Adjustments. Once the inputs and forecast assumptions are entered, the model uses the current year s budget numbers as the base year and then outputs the forecast statements listed below for the next thirty-five years. This allows Council to assess its long term financial sustainability by highlighting issues or identifying problems shown within the output statements

5 Currently the model produces the following forecast statements in both real and nominal terms: Income Statements (including and excluding capital items); Balance Sheets; Cash Flow Statements; Statements of Capital Funding; Statement of Changes in Equity; Statements of Source and Application of Funds; and Key Performance Indicators. Furthermore, there are output sheets dedicated to producing an assortment of financial ratios (and graphs) around: operating positions and items; debt; capital expenditure; fiscal flexibility; liquidity; QTC (Queensland Treasury Corporation) Credit Metric Ratios (for Credit Review); and Department of Local Government and Planning ratios (for legislative compliance). By analysing the inputs and outputs of the model together with scenario and sensitivity analysis, the model provides reliable data that supports the financial planning process. The table below show the key indicators Council measures and targets regularly through its annual and long term financial planning processes. These are also supplied to the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) as part of the annual credit review process. Key Indicators for QTC Ratio Definition Target Net Financial Liabilities (%) Net debt compared to the operating revenue (excluding capital items) < 110% Interest Coverage (%) Net interest expense (i.e. interest expense less interest revenue) compared to the operating revenue (excluding capital items) < 10% EBITDA interest cover (times) EBITDA (excluding capital items) over Net interest Expenses (i.e. interest expense less interest revenue) > 3.5 Operating Surplus (%) Net operating surplus compared to the operating revenue (excluding capital items) > -5% The Department of Local Government and Planning (DLGP) also requires Councils to report on certain indicators pertaining to their financial health as well as their asset infrastructure. Brisbane City Council considers these indicators throughout the financial planning process

6 DLGP indicators are shown in the table below. Key Indicators for DLGP Ratio Working Capital ratio Operating Surplus ratio Net Financial Liabilities ratio Interest Coverage ratio Asset Sustainability ratio Asset Consumption ratio Definition Current Assets divided by Current Liabilities Net Operating Surplus divided by Total Operating Revenue Total Liabilities less Current Assets divided by Total Operating Revenue Net Interest Expense on Debt Service divided by Total Operating Revenue Capital Expenditure on the Replacement of Assets (renewals) divided by Depreciation Expense Written Down Value of Infrastructure Assets divided by Gross Current Replacement Cost of Infrastructure Assets Accounting and Audit within the Financial Planning Framework Reliable accounting data plays an essential part within a solid financial planning process. All Council s accounting records, accounts and annual financial statements are prepared in accordance with International and Australian Accounting Standards and current Local Government Legislative requirements, as well as Council s Financial Management and Accounting Manual. Council s Financial Management and Accounting Manual includes policies, procedures and guidelines to ensure consistency in accounting practice and aims to enhance the understanding of managing financial transactions. Through the financial planning and forecasting process the accounting information about operations, resources and obligations are used. This information is then used for decision making, control and accountability purposes. Long-term financial reports are prepared to provide that information, which is useful for making and evaluating decisions about the allocation of scarce resources. Council s Audit Committee validates the outputs from our Financial Accounting areas. This information is drawn upon in the long term planning process. The Brisbane City Council Audit Committee has been established to assist Council to ensure that: an adequate system of internal controls has been established by management; Council entities, business systems and processes are operating with efficiency and effectiveness; key business risks are effectively managed; the internal audit process is sufficiently comprehensive to ensure that all major risks are assessed, and internal controls reviewed; the audit process (both internal and external) is effective; the annual Financial Statements to Council for signature, are endorsed

7 Council has a good working relationship with Queensland Audit Office. Such a relationship only strengthens the financial planning process and outcomes. Financial Risk Management Effective risk management practices help ensure Brisbane s liveability by avoiding or minimising any potential risks that may affect the community and visitors to our city. Responsible risk management also helps promote economic growth for the city in numerous ways, such as contributing to the successful delivery of major infrastructure projects. The Financial Plan is strengthened by the principles adhered to under Council s Financial Risk Management Framework. This framework sets out the mechanisms for managing and measuring financial market risk within Brisbane City Council. The Framework also establishes the use of specialist methodologies that are used to identify the level or degree of financial market risk acceptable to Council. The Financial Risk Management Committee is established to oversee effective management of Council's financial risk. This Committee records the conduct and outcomes of its meetings and forwards a copy of the minutes to the Audit Committee. The Committee comprises senior officers from Council. Council operates under the Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Act This act enables Council to conduct financial markets activity, or where such activity is not directly prescribed within the legislation, the process for seeking specific approvals. Council has approved powers for managing different types of financial risks. These are delegated to the Corporate Treasurer within the Corporate Finance branch of the Organisational Services division. Any breach is reported to the Financial Risk Management Committee as soon as possible. The committee has power to resolve breaches, but only to the degree that it can take whatever action is necessary to return the situation back within approved limits. Such governance helps ensure the validity and relevance of Council s Financial Plan

8 Schedule 1 Brisbane City Council Investment Policy 2011/2012 Authority: It is a requirement of s129 of the City of Brisbane (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation 2010 that, for each financial year, Council prepare and, by resolution, adopt a financial plan that includes an investment policy. Overview: The purpose of this investment policy is: - to comply in all respects with legislative requirements; and - to set out the principles used by Council to acquire, manage and dispose of investments. Applicability: This investment policy is effective from the date of Council s resolution. The Council may, by resolution, amend its investment policy for a financial year at any time before the year ends. The investment policy will be used to identify the council s philosophy and strategy for investment, overall risk philosophy and investment objectives and expectations. It will also be used when reviewing, preparing and applying related investment policies, procedures and guidelines. Under s141 of the City of Brisbane (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation 2010, the investment policy is available for inspection by the public. Philosophy and Strategy for Investment and Risk: Council s philosophy and strategy for investments and risk are contained in Council s Financial Risk Management Framework. Investments are undertaken within approved guidelines in accordance with the State Government s Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Act. The intention of Council s investment strategy is to meet Council's financial obligations in a timely manner and to generate earnings within prudential guidelines. Providing approval is given, investments may either be: - surplus cash invested on the short term money market with approved counterparties - surplus cash held over in the bank account - 8 -

9 - strategically placed funds in the form of shares or loans to approved organisations, including subsidiary entities - other investments that my from time to time be included under this definition. Investment Objectives and Expectations: Investment objectives Investments are undertaken with the objective of achieving a commercially acceptable return within approved risk parameters. In the case of short term cash investments, the funds are placed on deposit until required by Council to meet outgoings. Investment expectations For short term investments, investments should be: - undertaken in accordance with the Financial Risk Management Framework; - made with suitable credit worthy financial counterparties; - generally short term (up to six months) and can be made available to meet outgoings; - able to provide a commercially acceptable return. For long term investments (including infrastructure investments), investments should be: - assessed as financially affordable; - undertaken to generate overall benefits for the community; - provided on the basis that they represent best value for money outcomes. Procedures: Procedures for achieving the goals and expectations related to the investments stated in this policy include: - Various treasury procedures; - Asset management procedures; - Procedures relating to accounting standards. These procedures are followed by the Corporate Treasurer and the treasury areas managing and maintaining assets. These experts provide guidance to other areas of Council. Any breach of the Financial Risk Management Framework is reported to the Financial Risk Management Committee as soon as possible, where necessary action is taken. Policy Owner: Chief Financial Officer, Organisational Services Division Further Assistance: For further information, please refer to the About Council - Publications page on Council s website at:

10 Related Information: This policy is Council's investment policy. There are various administrative policies and arrangements that make up the total Council response to investment management. Review Date: Under s130 of the City of Brisbane (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation 2010, the investment policy must be prepared for each financial year. This policy will be reviewed as required

11 Schedule 2 Brisbane City Council Debt Policy 2011/2012 Authority: It is a requirement of s131 of the City of Brisbane (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation 2010 that, for each financial year, Council prepare and, by resolution, adopt a financial plan that includes a debt policy. Overview: The purpose of this debt policy is: - to comply in all respects with legislative requirements; and - to set out the principles used by Council to borrow for funding purposes. Applicability: This debt policy is effective from the date of Council s resolution. The Council may, by resolution, amend its debt policy for a financial year at any time before the year ends. The debt policy will be used to identify the council s new borrowings planned for the current and next nine financial years. It will also be used to show the time over which the council plans to repay existing and new borrowings. Under s141 of the City of Brisbane (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation 2010, the debt policy is available for inspection by the public. Policy: Debt management is undertaken within approved guidelines, in accordance with Council s Financial Risk Management Framework and the State Government s Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Act. Council borrows in order to fund its business operations. Debt is used to supplement revenues as a means of paying for specific and general capital expenditure, particularly where the asset being funded has a long economic life

12 Council also employs working capital and overdraft requirements that may arise from time to time. to help fund short term cashflow The amount of new debt to be borrowed in any one year must be approved as part of the annual Budget. Excluding working capital and bank overdraft, which are used as revolving line of credit facilities, any annual new borrowings taken on must also be approved by the Department of Local Government and Planning. The Department receives authority to approve these borrowings as part of the annual State borrowing program. Council manages its borrowing requirements in order to minimise the cost of funding. This is achieved by targeting the most effective use for these borrowings and the most opportune time when to employ the funds. Based on the current financial plan, Brisbane City Council forecasts that it will borrow the following over the next 10 years (all figures in $M). 2011/ / / / / / / / / /21 $501M $480M $333M $519M $71M $63M $64M $64M $64M $64M The above forecasts have been sourced from Council s 2011/2012 Budget. The repayment term of debt will depend on the nature of the underlying transactions to which individual portions of the borrowings are assigned and can vary from a few days out to 30 years. Policy Owner: Chief Financial Officer, Organisational Services Division Further Assistance: For further information, please refer to the About Council - Publications page on Council s website at: Related Information: This policy is Council's debt policy. There are various administrative arrangements that make up the total Council response to debt management. policies and Review Date: Under s130 of the City of Brisbane (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation 2010, the debt policy must be prepared for each financial year. This policy will be reviewed as required

13 Schedule 3 Brisbane City Council Revenue Policy 2011/2012 Authority: Section 132 of the City of Brisbane (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation 2010 requires that Council prepare and adopt a revenue policy for each financial year. Council may amend the revenue policy at any time before the end of the financial year. Overview: The purpose of this revenue policy is to state: - o the principles that Council intends to apply in the 2011/2012 financial year for (i) levying rates and charges; and (ii) granting concessions for rates and charges; and (iii) recovering overdue rates and charges; and (iv) cost-recovery fees; o o o the purpose for concessions granted under (ii) above; the extent to which physical and social infrastructure costs for a new development are to be funded by charges for the development; and the amount of each reserve to be kept in the operating fund and the way in which Council intends to ensure funding is available to support the purpose of each reserve. Applicability: This revenue policy is effective from the date of Council s resolution and will apply to the financial year from 1 July 2011 to 30 June The revenue policy contains principles to be used in preparing the budget. It will also be used when reviewing, preparing and applying related policies, procedures and guidelines effective in 2011/2012. The revenue policy is available free of charge from Council s public office and at its web site at: Policy: The following principles apply: (a) Revenue Raising Principles (i) Levying Rates and Charges In making and levying rates and charges, Council is required to comply with the requirements of State and Federal legislation

14 Where appropriate, the principle of user pays will be applied in the making of charges so as to minimise the impact of these charges on the local economy. Council will also have regard to the principles of: equity by reference to the value or quality of land; transparency in the making and levying of rates and charges; clarity in terms of responsibilities (Council s and ratepayers) in regard to the rating process; timing the levy of rates to take into account the financial cycle of local economic activity, in order to assist smooth running of the local economy; National Competition Policy legislation where applicable; and having in place a rating regime that is efficient to administer. (ii) Granting Concessions for Rates and Charges In considering the application of concessions, Council will be guided by the principles of: equity by reference to the value or quality of land within the local community, the same treatment for ratepayers with similar circumstances; transparency by making clear the requirements necessary to receive concessions; flexibility to allow Council to respond to local economic issues; and responsiveness to community expectations of what activities should attract assistance from Council. (iii) Recovering Overdue Rates and Charges Council will exercise its rate recovery powers pursuant to the provisions of Part 12 of the City of Brisbane (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation 2010 in order to reduce the overall rate burden on ratepayers. It will be guided by the principles of: transparency by making clear the obligations of ratepayers and the processes used by Council in assisting them meet their financial obligations; clarity and cost effectiveness in the processes used to recover overdue rates and charges; equity by determining appropriate arrangements for different sectors of the community; providing the same treatment for ratepayers with similar circumstances; and flexibility by responding where necessary to changes in the local economy. (iv) Cost-Recovery Fees Pursuant to the provisions of s.99 of the City of Brisbane Act 2010, Council will establish fees to recover costs associated with the provision of certain activities or services. Council will be guided by the principles of: clarity in the identification of cost drivers; and neutrality in that the fee will represent no more than the full cost to Council of taking the action for which the fee is charged. Council will make publicly available a register of cost-recovery fees. (b) Purpose of Concessions for Rates and Charges Council provides rates and charges concessions for: (i) pensioners who comply with eligibility criteria set out in its Revenue Policy: Partial Remission of Rates and Charges (Pensioners) ; and

15 (ii) not-for-profit organisations which comply with eligibility criteria set out in its Revenue Policy: Partial Remission of General Rates (Not-for-profit Organisations). These concessions have been made available in accordance with the provisions of s.52(1)(a) and s.52(1)(b)(i) of the City of Brisbane (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation The purpose of these provisions is to: (i) acknowledge that approved pensioners have a limited financial capacity and/or; (ii) support the social benefit of the principal activities of qualifying not-for-profit organisations. (c) Infrastructure Cost Recovery The Council presently imposes infrastructure charges under adopted Infrastructure Contributions Planning Scheme Policies. In April 2011, the State Government announced that it will introduce legislation to provide from 1 July 2011, the maximum standard infrastructure charge that the Council can impose for new development. (d) Funding Reserves The amount held aside in Reserves to cover anticipated and future financial commitments is determined annually by Council as part of Council s budget and may be amended throughout the course of the financial year. The amount held in each reserve is published quarterly. Transfers from and to Reserves are authorised by Council via Budget Resolution or Budget Reviews. Reserves are backed by cash and repay and redraw facilities. However, the Insurance Reserve is represented by units held in Queensland Investment Corporation Managed Fund. Policy Owner: Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Services Division Further Assistance: For further information, please refer to the About Council - Publications page on Council s website at; Related Information: This policy is Council's strategic revenue policy. There are various administrative policies and arrangements that make up the total Council response to revenue management. Review Date: Council must adopt the revenue policy in sufficient time before the start of each financial year to allow an annual budget that is consistent with the revenue policy to be adopted for the financial year. This policy will be reviewed as required

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