As part of Council’s duty to fulfill its governance obligations to the community, Council established an Audit and Risk Committee in accordance with Sections 53 and 54 of the Local Government Act 2020.

The Committee is designated as an advisory committee under section 53(2) of the Act and does not have any delegated powers, executive powers, management functions or delegated financial responsibilities.

The Committee’s role is to:

  • monitor compliance of Council policies and procedures with the overarching governance principles the Act, its regulations and any Ministerial directions, other relevant laws, and regulations
  • monitor Council financial and performance reporting
  • monitor and provide advice on risk management and fraud prevention systems and controls
  • oversee internal and external audit functions
  • monitor compliance with legislation, laws and regulations
  • monitor the achievement of the highest standards of corporate governance including monitoring compliance with Council’s Code of Conduct.

The Committee engages with Council’s management in a constructive and professional manner in discharging its responsibilities and formulating its advice to the Council.

The Committee operates to advise Council on how best to fulfill its responsibilities and facilitate decision making by providing a forum for improving communication between Council members and senior management, finance, risk and compliance managers, internal auditors, and external auditors.

The Audit and Risk Committee consists of four independent community members and two councillors who meet quarterly, or as required.  Representatives from Council’s internal independent auditors, currently AFS and Associates Pty Ltd and external auditors appointed by the Victorian Auditor General’s Office, currently Crowe Australasia Pty Ltd.

The external auditors oversee and make recommendations relating to Council’s Annual Financial Statements and Performance Reporting, whilst the internal auditors monitor the program of operational audits undertaken throughout the year ensuring a high level of compliance and assurance of systems, processes and procedures employed by Council in the governance and control of its daily operations.

All recommendations of the Committee are referred to the Council for review and noting, other than the:

  • three-year Internal Audit Plan
  • planning and terms of reference for internal audits that do not require the approval of the Council
  • management responses to audit recommendations arising from Internal Audit Reports.

The Committee has the authority to review the Annual Financial Statements and Performance Statement and provide advice to the Council. The Committee can recommend to Council its approval ‘in principle,’ the signing of the Annual Financial Statements and Performance Statement.

The Audit and Risk Committee develops an annual work plan and reports to Council and the community on the progress of that work plan through a June and December performance report.  These reports are presented to Council’s CEO, Julie Salomon, by the Chair of the Committee and referred to Council for review and noting.

Audit and Risk Committee Charter 2023
Audit and Risk Committee Annual Report 2023

Audit and Risk Committee Members

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Paul Ayton (Chair)

Paul brings a wealth of knowledge to the Audit and Risk Committee as a Senior Executive, Director, Board Member and Business Advisor in commercial roles in banking and finance, insurance and in business advisory capacities.
Paul has extensive background in strategic and business planning, people and culture development, sales growth, operational efficiency, and financial management.
Paul currently works advising and mentoring Business Owners and Leaders to achieve their commercial and personal objectives.
Paul loves to be involved in this community and has held honorary positions in sporting clubs and school councils.

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Alistair Thomson

Alistair is a qualified accountant and holds tertiary qualifications in accounting, marketing, and financial planning.
Over a 25-year career in large international manufacturing companies and financial institutions, Alistair held general management, director and managing director roles. He subsequently founded his own financial services company which was sold to a larger entity.
Alistair was a partner in a beef and horticultural property in Strathbogie for 17 years and a Strathbogie Shire Councillor from 2016 to 2020.
Alistair brings a strong level of financial experience to the Audit and Risk Committee and is committed to ensuring financial integrity and appropriate risk management.

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Alister Purbrick

Alister Purbrick has over 45 years’ experience in the tourism, wine and liquor industries and is recognised for his strategic planning, corporate business development and leadership skills.
Alistair is heavily involved in the wine industry and holds a number of current corporate executive, board and financial advisory positions related to the wine industry, and is the President of Australian Grape and Wine Inc.
Alister is not only recognised for his leadership and contribution to the Australian Wine Industry but is also heavily involved in his local community. Alister is currently a member of the Nagambie Waterways Advisory Committee and was a Strathbogie Shire Councillor in 2012-2016.
Alister has strong environmental and sustainability credentials leading the Tahbilk Group to be carbon balanced/neutral with "zero net balance" of greenhouse gas emissions since 2012.

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Sophie Lukeis

Sophie is a senior executive with extensive experience across various industries including Education, Finance, Telecommunications and Health.
Sophie’s focus is around People and Culture and she is heavily involved in OHS, Risk and Finance oversight in her current role. Sophie’s strong background in strategic planning, industrial relations and organisational and safety governance further enhances the skill diversity and capability of the Audit and Risk Committee.
As a resident of Strathbogie, Sophie has strong connections with her local community and values the unique lifestyle that living in the Strathbogie Shire offers.

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