‘Confidential’ council minutes released

Details of Hume City Council’s audit and risk committee meetings – marked confidential – have been published, some with sections of text blacked out. Publication follows repeated request by Sunbury Life – and a near five-month wait.

Minutes of the council’s oversight committee, dating back to May 2022, came to the fore when councillors voted to accept them as the official record at its meeting on Monday 12 February 2024. Each edition of the minutes should have been signed off as soon as possible following publication.

Sunbury Life challenged the council’s decision to mark the minutes confidential. Following exchanges with the council’s media team we took it up with Joel Kimber, the council’s acting manager governance.

In February, Mr Kimber told us: “There are some discussions at audit and risk that are confidential.” We pointed out there are plenty of sections that will not be confidential. But Mr Kimber would not budge.

Then we took the matter up with council CEO Sheena Frost. She wrote saying she couldn’t intervene: “I cannot override the A&R committee and make confidential documents public.”

We responded with a request under the Freedom of Information Act. At which point someone at council overrode the A&R committee to officially release them outside of the act. We have now asked for the agendas for each meeting listed below, and the agenda and minutes of its 1 March 2024 meeting.

At first reading it is hard to say if there is anything contentious contained within the minutes of the audit & risk committee. What we do know is that council should never have made them confidential in the first place.

Download the previously confidential A&R minutes:

  1. 27 May 2022
  2. 29 August 2022
  3. 25 November 2022
  4. 24 Feb 2023
  5. 26 May 2023
  6. 28 September 2023
  7. 24 Nov 2023

The audit & risk committee has a charter and meet four times a year, and its five members are:

  1. Jen Johansen, a qualified and experienced chartered accountant and internal auditor
  2. Shannon Buckle, an experienced audit and risk management professional with over 20 years of audit, risk management and operational experience
  3. Bruce Potgieter has experience across a range of government and private sectors in relation to audit, risk management, and compliance
  4. Councillor Jarrod Bell has expertise in governance and risk management 
  5. Mayor Naim Kurt has a strong interest in public transport
Hume Audit Risk Committee Minutes