M.A.D.E: Why the financial report was kept from public

COUNCILLOR Peter Innes called on a City of Ballarat officer to explain why some details of M.A.D.E's financial operations were kept from the public.

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The council has previously released some details of the museum's financial problems, but new information was presented to the public this week after a confidential document was mistakenly published on its website.

The report had been designated as confidential information under a section of the Local Government Act that protects contractual matters.

Councillor Peter Innes raised the matter at Wednesday night's ordinary council meeting, asking for officers to explain why the report was presented as confidential.

City strategy general manager Natalie Reiter said council officers had a responsibility to provide councillors with all the information available for transparent and open decision making.

"M.A.D.E is an individual body and serves the right of protection of their confidentiality, while still making the public aware of the broad intent," she said.

"We deal with some very sensitive things at times and there are some things we need to keep in Section 89" - Peter Innes

Cr Innes told The Courier he raised the matter in the chamber to provide clarification.

"We deal with some very sensitive things at times and there are some things we need to keep in Section 89," he said.

"I needed for (Ms Reiter) to explain in the chamber as to why there are some facts that need to be put into Section 89, specifically around financial implications."

The council's chief executive officer Anthony Schinck also said councillors regularly received detailed information in a confidential format, which enabled them to make informed decisions.

"Council takes care to manage sensitive information, and it is unfortunate that this error has been made," he said.

The report directly outlined details of the museum's operations, which are largely funded with ratepayers' money.

It states that, on average, 100 people a day visited M.A.D.E this financial year, including paid and free entry, local children and education visitors.

The museum was originally forecast to achieve revenue of $2.26 million annually, but collected $286,420 in its first six months of operation.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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