Bid to save $4.5 million

STAFF cuts and an organisational revamp are among the options to save at least $4.5 million and help Cumberland Council get back in the black.

Discussions on how to fix the council’s dire financial position went behind closed doors at the council’s last meeting after a casting vote by Mayor Steve Christou.
Opposing the move, Cr George Campbell said the issues under consideration were of “great public importance”.
“It is an over the top, panic response to a perceived budget crisis, with serious implications for the delivery of services to the community,” he said.
Cr Suman Saha also argued that “our community needs to know why and what budget saving initiatives” the council needed to implement.
However Cr Ned Attie said given the confidential nature of the report, the debate needed to be private because “some councillors can’t control themselves as to what they say in this chamber”.
After nearly an hour of closed door discussions, the public stream of the meeting resumed, with Cr Christou noting that the vote was also evenly split in favour of a recommendation to delegate authority to general manager Hamish McNulty to implement the savings and business improvement initiatives outlined in a confidential report.
Mr McNulty later told the Review that the council’s focus is on a ‘back to basics’ approach “to ensure that our available resources are spent on council services that are important to the community, including essential services, critical works and infrastructure”.
“The financial pressures experienced by Cumberland City Council are well-known and we are now considering measures to achieve $4.5 million in savings and reduce the cost of services by 10 per cent,” he said.
“We also need to ensure that those services are delivered in the most cost effective way possible.”