Financial stocks up

FREMANTLE council’s financial stability has had a massive rebound according to the WA local government department.

For years the council has been bagged over its poor score on the department’s “financial health indicator”, which at one point was equal lowest in the metropolitan area at a dismal-sounding 42 out of 100.

But a recent update of the website to include figures from each council’s 2020/21 annual report, shows Fremantle is now on a rock-solid 94 and has only Subiaco council ahead of it with a near-perfect 96.

The department gave Fremantle ticks of approval for meeting the standards of every category, including its ability to meet its day-to-day running costs, the state of its assets and ability to replace them, and its capabilities of meeting its debts.

The council has always maintained the department’s indicator wasn’t a reliable tool for assessing economic stability, so CEO Glen Dougall was philosophical about the good tidings.

“While the high FHI score for 2020/21 is pleasing, the FHI is just one factor to consider in assessing the overall performance of a local government,” Mr Dougall said.

“The City of Fremantle has been going through a significant period of change and large-scale public investment, and the city has always maintained that during this period our FHI score would fluctuate.

“With the Walyalup Koort renewal project now complete we expect our FHI scores will stabilise over the coming years, reflecting the city’s sound financial position and a return to more normal expenditure patterns.”

Melville council continued the decline in its FHI score over the last few years, finishing up with a 71, Cockburn had a sizeable bounceback from 62 to 78, while East Fremantle was pretty steady at 67.

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