Daintree Ferry Contract Will be Audited

probity audit

Douglas Shire Council Media Release

A PROBITY auditor will review and provide detailed reports about the processes behind the Daintree Ferry Contract Renewal.

Douglas Shire Council have unanimously resolved to request the Chief Executive Officer, through the Audit Committee, to engage an independent probity auditor to analyse the ferry contract process to ensure public trust and understanding in the decision-making.

The probity audit will cover the period from initial consultations in 2018 until now.

Council’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Stoermer welcomed the audit as an opportunity to give ratepayers confidence in the process.

“Our staff have been diligent, thorough and responsible during the Daintree Ferry contract renewal and I believe a thorough independent audit will back that up,” he said.

The probity auditor will provide findings in a detailed report to Councillors, the Audit Committee and Management Team. A public report will also be made available.

The audit will investigate the contract process for the Daintree Ferry contracts including the original two ferry tender, the outright purchase of the existing ferry and the solicitation, evaluation, and award of the interim ferry solution.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said an independent audit was an essential mechanism to give the community confidence in the decision.

“We will be the first to admit we were not entirely satisfied with the amount of money paid for the vessel; however, it was the best result for our community given the cards we were dealt, and our ratepayers deserve to understand how we reached this point,” he said.

“While the purchase price was higher than we wanted, Councillors and I made a decision to prevent further economic damage to our local businesses after multiple efforts to negotiate at a lower price.

“The public deserve to know the lengths our staff went to secure this service.”

A probity audit is an assurance engagement, in which a probity auditor provides an independent scrutiny of a procurement process and expresses an objective opinion as to whether the prescribed probity requirements have been adhered to. The conclusion expressed should be based on evidence gathered against prescribed criteria. Independence is essential to a probity audit. A third party to the procurement should be able to rely on the probity audit to obtain greater confidence as to whether the probity requirements of that procurement have been adhered to.

Use of probity auditors and advisors
Office of the Chief Advisor – Procurement