Local Government Borrowings for 2015-16
Local Government Finance and Funding
This bulletin is to advise local governments of the procedure for submitting borrowing applications for 2015-16.
In accordance with the Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Act 1982 (SBFA Act), a local government is required to obtain the Treasurer's approval to undertake borrowings. Under a General Approval dated 23 May 2003 and issued by the Queensland Treasurer under the SBFA Act, the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning may grant approval for local governments to borrow from Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC).
Separate approval of the Treasurer is, however, still required for borrowings not sourced from QTC. The approval process of non-QTC borrowings is not covered in this bulletin.
|Submission deadline||Stage 1: Long-Term Financial Forecast - close of business, Friday 28 August 2015*
Stage 2: Full Borrowing Application - close of business, Friday 29 January 2016**
|How to submit||The completed application and supporting documentation are to be submitted to the Department via post. Electronic submissions are unable to be accepted due to email size constraints.|
|Postal details||Attn: Local Government Finance and Funding
Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
PO Box 15009
City East QLD 4002
|Postal details||Mark Snow, Senior Project Officer
Phone: (07) 3452 6719
* For any local government seeking to borrow in 2015-16, a copy of councils' latest Long-Term Financial Forecast is required to be submitted to QTC by 28 August 2015 to enable QTC to determine whether a Credit Review or other form of financial review is required (see QTC Credit Reviews section)
** Full borrowing applications can be submitted earlier than 29 January 2016 and the Department will endeavour to provide a response to councils within three months of receipt of all required information.
Applications for borrowings can be submitted for consideration by the Department up until close of business, Friday 29 January 2016.
This deadline takes into account the timeframes needed to undertake an assessment, make any necessary enquiries of a council, and allow for the drawdown of any approved borrowings through QTC. However, the Department strongly encourages local governments to lodge borrowing applications as early as possible in the financial year. In doing so, this will ensure that applications are processed in a timely manner and any approved funds are available prior to 30 June 2016.
Timing of application assessments
Applications for borrowings are assessed in order of receipt by the Department, except for those local governments nominated to be subject to a QTC Credit Review in the 2015-16 financial year, or for those that advise of an urgent need to access any approved borrowings by a specific date. The Department cannot, however, provide an average estimated turnaround time for the assessment of borrowing applications.
Factors that will impact on the amount of time needed to undertake an assessment include:
- whether a council has supplied all the required documentation;
- the quality and defensibility of the long-term financial forecast supplied; and
- the timeliness and sufficiency of responses to enquiries made to a council.
Detailed information for those local governments nominated to be subject a Credit Review for the 2015-16 financial year, can be found in the QTC Credit Review section of this bulletin.
To promote the quality and defensibility of the projections in the long-term financial forecast, councils should ensure:
- historical figures correspond with data contained in the relevant Audited Financial Statements;
- growth rates are appropriate; and
- any substantial fluctuations in projections are explained or substantiated.
This may require the inclusion of additional notes or supporting documentation, as a council deems necessary.
Once approvals for borrowings are granted by the Department, a council can actively work with QTC to determine an appropriate timeframe for the drawdown of any approved borrowings. There is no requirement that approved borrowings be drawn down immediately.
Assessment, approval and drawdown process
The Department will assess the supplied long-term financial forecast for completeness and reasonableness, and to determine whether the local government has adequate financial capacity to meet its proposed loan servicing commitments. The Department may request further information to assist in the completion of the assessment.
If a local government significantly revises its financial forecast after lodgment, but prior to approval, the details of the revisions must be communicated to the Department.
When the assessment has been completed, the Department will advise the local government and QTC of the outcome. If the requested borrowings are approved, the local government may then contact QTC directly to arrange the drawdown of any approved borrowings.
Key conditions attached to any borrowings approved in the 2015-16 financial year are as follows:
- Maximum loan term of 20 years. A local government may, however, choose a shorter term
- Must be drawn down prior to 30 June 2016
- Approval does not carry forward to subsequent financial years.
Should undrawn, approved borrowings subsequently be required in future financial years, a new borrowing application will need to be submitted.
QTC credit reviews
As part of the Local Government Loan borrowing program, the Department engages Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) to undertake a comprehensive rolling, annual credit review program for a select number of local governments that are considered to be facing significant challenges and/or are undertaking large borrowings.
To enable QTC to determine if a credit review, or other form of financial review, is required, every local government seeking to borrow in 2015-16 is required to submit their latest council-approved long-term financial forecast to QTC by Friday 28 August 2015. The forecast should be emailed to the council's QTC Account Manager. QTC will determine the type of review to be conducted and local governments nominated for a credit review in 2015-16 will be notified. Note: where the initial long-term financial forecast differs significantly from the one submitted later with the full borrowing application, explanations for each variance will need to be provided and justified.
The Credit Review process is conducted in conjunction with the Department's borrowing application approval process, where possible, in order to reduce the duplication of effort and consequently, reduce the administrative burden on local governments in seeking loan approvals.
The Department will process borrowing applications for those local governments selected to undertake a QTC Credit Review in 2015-16 once the relevant Credit Review has been finalised. However, applications may be processed before the results of the Credit Review are available, in exceptional circumstances.
The Department requires the following information in order to assess an application for borrowings (please also refer to the notes below table):
|Long-term financial forecast model 1|
|Adopted 2015-16 Debt Policy 2|
|2015-16 Schedule of Capital Works 3|
|Application checklist ( 192 KB) completed and signed by the Mayor and Chief Executive Officer 4|
Please also include any other information the council considers relevant to the application.
Note 1: Long-term financial forecast
The long-term financial forecast must:
- be based on the QTC local government forecast model (LGFM version 3.0.2 or later);
- be complete and consistent with the long-term financial forecasts requirements under Section 171 of the Local Government Regulation 2012 and Section 163 of the City of Brisbane Regulation 2012;
- show 2015-16 as the budget year; and
- contain the borrowings sought for 2015-16, together with planned borrowings in forward years (consistent with the Adopted 2015-16 Debt Policy). Loan terms and associated repayments are also to be included in the financial forecast.
The QTC local government forecast model (QTC LGFM v3.0.2 or later) to be included with the borrowings application for 2015-16 should include five years of historical values (from 2010-11 to 2014-15) and 10 years of forecast values (from 2015-16 to 2024-25). The Department encourages local governments to work closely with QTC in using or updating the QTC LGFM.
QTC can also undertake an informal completeness and reasonableness review of a local government's long-term financial forecast, and assist local governments with debt structuring. QTC can be contacted directly on 1800 641 057.
Note 2: Adopted Debt Policy
A copy of the Adopted 2015-16 Debt Policy (refer to Section 192 of the Local Government Regulation 2012 and Section 184 of the City of Brisbane Regulation 2012) must be included. Councils must ensure that the total borrowings requested for 2015-16 is consistent with the Adopted 2015-16 Debt Policy.
Note 3: Schedule of Capital Works
A project that constitutes more than 50 per cent of a local government's capital expenditure in any one year, or has a value greater than $10 million, should be identified separately in the detailed list of capital works projects as a "significant project", and a brief explanation of the project should be provided.
Note 4: Application checklist
The borrowing application, including the financial forecast, is required to be certified by the Mayor and the Chief Executive Officer. The certification confirms that the borrowings will be used for lawful, capital purposes and that a native title risk assessment has been conducted on any relevant land.
The 2015-16 Loan Borrowings application checklist (attached to this bulletin) contains two pages. Sections marked with an asterisk are mandatory. Please ensure that both pages are completed.
Breakdown of borrowings sought into major project areas
As the Department does not currently undertake loan borrowing assessments at the individual project-level, the amount of loan borrowings requested for 2015-16 does not need to be allocated to each individual project listed on the Schedule of Capital Works. However, it is mandatory that councils complete the "Requested Borrowings breakdown" section on the application checklist. This section helps the Department understand to which major project areas the proposed 2015-16 borrowings are planned to be allocated. Where a council does not know the exact dollar ($) breakdown by project area, the % approximation column can be used instead.
It is expected that the projects proposed for funding via borrowings form part of a local government's asset management planning process and the whole of life costs of the project have been considered.
Any local government seeking to borrow in 2015-16 must submit a long-term financial forecast directly to QTC for the purpose of enabling QTC to determine if a credit review or other form of financial review is required. Refer to the "QTC Credit Review" section for more information.
The long-term financial forecast should be submitted by email to a council's QTC Account Manager by Friday 28 August 2015.
The completed application (see "Documentation Required" section) should be compiled in the following manner:
- completed and signed borrowing application checklist on the front of the application, with hard copy documents on the pages following; and
- CD or USB containing copy of council's long-term financial forecast (using the QTC long-term financial model) and any soft-copy documents, to be affixed to the front of the application.
The completed application should be submitted by Friday 29 January 2016 by mail to:
Attn: Local Government Finance and Funding
Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
PO Box 15009
City East QLD 4002
Please note that electronic applications are unable to be accepted by the Department due to email size constraints. Local governments are therefore advised not to email the forecast model to the Department, as may have occurred in previous years.
Any further enquiries on this matter should be directed to:
Senior Project Officer
Phone: (07) 3452 6719