More than $10m in RFS assets are held on council books. Photo: Tim Jarrett
More than $10m in RFS assets are held on council books. Photo: Tim Jarrett

‘Ludicrous’: Council wants rid of RFS assets

A COUNCILLOR has labelled a requirement that some councils keep RFS assets on their books 'ludicrous' while it rakes in millions in donations.

During a discussion on Clarence Valley Council's submission to this year's Local Government NSW conference, Cr Peter Ellem said it was time to get a sizeable liability off their books.

"What we are talking about here is what's known as the 'red fleet' and many councils have the responsibility - for some unknown reason - of accounting for these each year," he said.

"It's no small figure, in our LGA it is just over $10 million worth of assets, mainly equipment, and a rate of depreciation of about $100,000 a year."

The 'Red Fleet' refers to those assets which are accounted for in the Rural Fire Service District Agreement between the RFS and Council, which are subsequently held on council asset registers.

And despite holding them 'on the books' council has no control over them while they gradually depreciate in value, costing the council an estimated $100,000 a year.

"The RFS did an amazing job last year with the mega bushfires but for a State Government to continue to expect some local councils - not all - to maintain these assets on our books while having no control over them whatsoever seems quite ludicrous," Mr Ellem said.

"Hopefully with the RFS receiving more funding from charity fundraisers - tens of millions of dollars - this should go off our books."

The Corporate Governance and Works committee resolved to raise the issue at the LGNSW conference, the key policy making event for the local government sector.

The conference allows councils to unite and use their collective voice to highlight the issues that matter most to communities, and direct action where it is needed.

LGNSW has been advocating to the NSW Audit Office and the Office of Local Government for RFS assets to be recorded against state agency asset registers, as those agencies have effective control of the assets.

A final decision will be made at the full council meeting next week.



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