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Community deserves to know where money went

COUNCIL resolved last night to begin legal proceedings against the Penrith Business Alliance (PBA) in a bid to ascertain where public money went.

In June 2015, after an independent review of a Deed of Agreement with the PBA, Council resolved that public funding for the Alliance would cease.

Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown said since that time, Council had made numerous unsuccessful requests to the PBA for reconciliation of the funding allocated to the Alliance for the 2014-2015 financial year.

“This is public money. We have an obligation to our community to find out whether this money was used appropriately for economic development activities,” Cr McKeown said.

“A Limited organisation is also required to lodge audited financial statements with ASIC which hasn’t happened, so there needs to be accountability,” Cr McKeown said.

The PBA, which was set up by Council, began operating in 2009 as a Company Limited by Guarantee and provided annual updates to Council about its activities and future program.

Mindful of the changing economic environment, Council undertook a review of its economic development functions after a five year period.

“The review gave us the opportunity to look at the bigger picture and take a fresh look at whether there are better ways to drive economic development, boost jobs and attract investment to our City,” Cr McKeown said. “Council decided to implement alternative models for the future.”

The proceedings were passed by a majority with the only councillor voting against the motion being Cr Marcus Cornish.

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