The findings of the Audit Office's review of local government finances provides the opportunity for the state and federal governments to address the financial sustainability of rural and remote councils, representatives for seven councils in the state's central west say.
Speaking ahead of State Cabinet meeting in Longreach on Tuesday, Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board CEO David Arnold said local governments were dedicated to service and infrastructure delivery for their communities, with best practice governance and financial accountability.
"The Audit Office report has concluded that council financial statements are reliable, but financial stability is deteriorating," Mr Arnold said.
"Their report has made some important recommendations for the Queensland Government to adopt."
The Audit Office recommended the Queensland Government's Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning review its current funding model to identify opportunities to provide funding certainty to councils beyond one financial year and develop new financial sustainability ratios for Queensland councils.
The Audit Office acknowledged the critical role of councils stating, "Queensland's local governments are the first line of connection to communities; providing Queenslanders with a wide range of services such as roads, water and waste, libraries, and parks."
Mr Arnold said the RAPAD councils welcome the State Cabinet meeting in Longreach as an opportunity to start discussing with Ministers the implementation of the Audit Office recommendations.
"This is an issue for state and federal governments," he said.
"They have the ability to provide greater financial security for councils and the services councils deliver west of the Divide.
"If not addressed, the financial stability of councils will continue to deteriorate."
Mr Arnold said the Audit Office also highlighted while the state and federal government increased their borrowings in response to COVID-19, for councils there are limited ways to raise the revenue they need to sustain services.
"Rural remote councils will never have the capacity to raise revenue simply through increasing rates. We have a much lower rate base than councils in major regional centres and south-east corner," Mr Arnold said.