City of Melbourne Annual Report 2015-16

Notes to Financial Statements Introduction

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Notes to Financial Statements


These financial statements are for the entity the Melbourne City Council (the "Council") and controlled entities. Council is the ultimate successor at law to the Mayor Aldermen Councillors and Burgesses of the Town of Melbourne which was incorporated on 12 August 1842 by An Act to Incorporate the Inhabitants of the Town of Melbourne 6 Victoria No. 7. The name ‘Melbourne City Council’ replaced the former ‘Council of the City of Melbourne’ via the City of Melbourne Act 1993. The Town Hall is located at 90-120 Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.

The purpose of Council is to:

  • Promote the social, economic and environmental viability and sustainability of the municipality

  • Ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively.

Council's external auditors, advisers and bankers as at 30 June 2016:

  • External Auditor – The Victorian Auditor-General

  • Internal Auditor – Oakton Services Pty Ltd

  • Solicitors - Hunt & Hunt, Ashurst, Maddocks

  • Bankers - Westpac Banking Corporation.

Council’s website is City of Melbourne1.

The consolidated financial statements of Council as at and for the year ended 30 June 2016 comprise Council, controlled entities and interest in associated entities.

Statement of compliance

These financial statements are a general purpose financial report that consists of a Comprehensive Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Statement of Changes in Equity, Statement of Cash Flows, Statement of Capital Works and notes accompanying these financial statements. The general purpose financial report complies with Australian Accounting Standards (AAS), other authoritative pronouncements of the Australian Accounting Standards Board, the Local Government Act 1989, and the Local Government (Planning and Reporting) Regulations 2014.

Note 1. Significant accounting policies

The significant policies, which have been adopted in the preparation of this Financial Report, are:

  1. Basis of preparation

The accrual basis of accounting has been used in the preparation of these financial statements, whereby assets, liabilities, equity, income and expenses are recognised in the reporting period to which they relate, regardless of when cash is received or paid.

Judgements, estimates and assumptions are required to be made about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. The estimates and associated judgements are based on professional judgement derived from historical experience and various other factors that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from these estimates.

Revisions to accounting estimates are recognised in the period in which the estimate is revised and also in future periods that are affected by the revision. Judgements and assumptions made by management in the application of AAS's that have significant effects on the financial statements and estimates relate to:

  • the fair value of land, buildings, infrastructure, plant and equipment (refer to note 1 (m))

  • the determination of depreciation for buildings, infrastructure, plant and equipment (refer to note 1(n))

  • the determination of employee provisions (refer to note 1(t))

Unless otherwise stated, all accounting policies are consistent with those applied in the prior year. Where appropriate, comparative figures have been amended to accord with current presentation, and disclosure has been made of any material changes to comparatives (refer to note 1(aa)).

  1. Change in accounting policies

There have been no changes in accounting policies from the previous period.

  1. Principles of consolidation

The consolidated financial statements of Council incorporate all entities controlled by Council as at 30 June 2016, and their income and expenses for that part of the reporting period in which control existed.

Subsidiaries are all entities over which Council has control. Council controls an entity when it is exposed to, or has rights to, variable returns from its involvement with the entity and has the ability to affect those returns through its power to direct the activities of the entity. Subsidiaries are fully consolidated from the date on which control is transferred to Council.

Where dissimilar accounting policies are adopted by entities and their effect is considered material, adjustments are made to ensure consistent policies are adopted in these financial statements.

In the process of preparing consolidated financial statements all material transactions and balances between consolidated entities are eliminated.

Entities consolidated into Council include:

  • Citywide Service Solutions Pty Ltd and its subsidiaries

  • Queen Victoria Market Pty Ltd

  • Sustainable Melbourne Fund Trust

  • Enterprise Melbourne Pty Ltd.

  1. Committees of management

Council does not control any entities under a Committee of Management structure.

  1. Accounting for investments in associates and joint arrangements


Associates are all entities over which Council has significant influence but not control or joint control. Investments in associates are accounted for using the equity method of accounting, after initially being recognised at cost.

MAP’s Group Pty Ltd (trading as Procurement Australia) and Regent Management Company Pty Ltd are accounted for using the equity method of accounting.

Joint arrangements

Investments in joint arrangements are classified as either joint operations or joint ventures depending on the contractual rights and obligations each investor has, rather than the legal structure of the joint arrangement.

  1. Revenue recognition

Income is recognised when Council obtains control of the contribution or the right to receive the contribution, it is probable that the economic benefits comprising the contribution will flow to Council and the amount of the contribution can be measured reliably.

Rates and Charges

Annual rates and charges are recognised as revenues when Council issues annual rates notices. Supplementary rates are recognised when a valuation and reassessment is completed and a supplementary rates notice issued.

Statutory fees and fines

Statutory fees and fines are recognised as revenue when the service has been provided, the payment is received, or when the penalty has been applied, whichever first occurs.

User fees

User fees are recognised as revenue when the service has been provided or the payment is received, whichever first occurs. Citywide recognises revenue arising from service contracts by reference to the stage of completion of the contract. Where the outcome of a contract cannot be reliably estimated, contract costs are recognised as and when expenses are incurred and where it is probable that the costs will be recovered, revenue is recognised to the extent of costs incurred.


Grant income is recognised when Council obtains control of the contribution. This is normally obtained upon their receipt (or acquittal) or upon earlier notification that a grant has been secured, and are valued at their fair value at the date of transfer.

Where grants or contributions recognised as revenues during the financial year were obtained on condition that they be expended in a particular manner or used over a particular period and those conditions were undischarged at balance date, the unused grant or contribution is disclosed in Note 6. The note also discloses the amount of unused grant or contribution from prior years that was expended on Council’s operations during the current year.


Monetary and non-monetary contributions are recognised as revenue when Council obtains control over the contributed asset.

Sale of property, infrastructure, plant and equipment

The profit or loss on sale of an asset is determined when control of the asset has irrevocably passed to the buyer.


Interest is recognised as it is earned.


Dividend revenue is recognised when Council's right to receive payment is established.

Other Income

Other income is measured at the fair value of the consideration received or receivable and is recognised when Council gains control over the right to receive the income. Fines are recognised as revenue when the penalty is imposed.

  1. Fair value measurement

Council measures certain assets and liabilities at fair value where required or permitted by AAS. AASB 13 Fair value measurement, aims to improve consistency and reduce complexity by providing a definition of fair value and a single source of fair value measurement and disclosure requirements for use across AAS.

AASB 13 defines fair value as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. Fair value under AASB 13 is an exit price regardless of whether that price is directly observable or estimated using another valuation technique.

All assets and liabilities for which fair value is measured or disclosed in the financial statements are categorised within a fair value hierarchy, described as follows, based on the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement as a whole:

Level 1 — Quoted (unadjusted) market prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities

Level 2 — Valuation techniques for which the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement is directly or indirectly observable

Level 3 — Valuation techniques for which the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement is unobservable.

For the purpose of fair value disclosures, Council has determined classes of assets and liabilities on the basis of the nature, characteristics and risks of the asset or liability and the level of the fair value hierarchy as explained above.

In addition, Council determines whether transfers have occurred between levels in the hierarchy by re-assessing categorisation (based on the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement as a whole) at the end of each reporting period.

  1. Cash and cash equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents include cash on hand, deposits at call, and other highly liquid investments with original maturities of 90 days or less, net of outstanding bank overdrafts.

  1. Trade and other receivables

Receivables are carried at amortised cost using the effective interest rate method. A provision for doubtful debts is recognised when there is objective evidence that impairment has occurred.

  1. Other financial assets

Other financial assets are valued at fair value, being market value, at balance date. Term deposits are measured at amortised cost. Any unrealised gains and losses on holdings at balance date are recognised as either a revenue or expense.

  1. Inventories

Inventories held for distribution are measured at cost adjusted when applicable for any loss of service potential. Inventories are measured at the lower of cost and net realisable value.

All other inventories, including land held for sale, are measured at the lower of cost and net realisable value. Where inventories are acquired for no cost or nominal consideration, they are measured at current replacement cost at the date of acquisition.

  1. Non-current asset classified as held for sale

A non-current asset classified as held for sale (including disposal groups) is measured at the lower of its carrying amount and fair value less costs to sell, and are not subject to depreciation. Non-current assets, disposal groups and related liabilities and assets are treated as current and classified as held for sale if their carrying amount will be recovered through a sale transaction rather than through continuing use. This condition is regarded as met only when the sale is highly probable and the asset's sale (or disposal group sale) is expected to be completed within 12 months from the date of classification.

  1. Recognition and measurement of property, plant, equipment and infrastructure


The purchase method of accounting is used for all acquisitions of assets, being the fair value of assets provided as consideration at the date of acquisition plus any incidental costs attributable to the acquisition. Fair value is the amount for which the asset could be exchanged between knowledgeable willing parties in an arm's length transaction.

Where assets are constructed by Council, cost includes all materials used in construction, direct labour, borrowing costs incurred during construction, and an appropriate share of directly attributable variable and fixed overheads.

In accordance with Council's policy, the threshold limits of $2,000 have applied when recognising assets within an applicable asset class and unless otherwise stated are consistent with the prior year.


Subsequent to the initial recognition of assets, non-current physical assets, other than plant and equipment, are measured at their fair value, being the amount for which the assets could be exchanged subsequent to the initial recognition of assets. At balance date, Council reviewed the carrying value of the individual classes of assets measured at fair value to ensure that each asset materially approximated its fair value. Where the carrying value materially differed from the fair value at balance date, the class of asset was revalued.

Fair value valuations are determined in accordance with a valuation hierarchy. Changes to the valuation hierarchy will only occur if an external change in the restrictions or limitations of use on an asset result in changes to the permissible or practical highest and best use of the asset. Further details regarding the fair value hierarchy are disclosed at Note 22.

In addition, Council undertakes a formal revaluation of land, buildings, and infrastructure assets on a regular basis every year. The valuation is performed either by experienced Council officers or independent experts.

Where the assets are revalued, the revaluation increments are credited directly to the asset revaluation reserve except to the extent that an increment reverses a prior year decrement for that class of asset that had been recognised as an expense in which case the increment is recognised as revenue up to the amount of the expense. Revaluation decrements are recognised as an expense except where prior increments are included in the asset revaluation reserve for that class of asset in which case the decrement is taken to the reserve to the extent of the remaining increments. Within the same class of assets, revaluation increments and decrements within the year are offset.

Land under roads

Council recognises land under roads it controls at deemed cost.

Capital and recurrent expenditure

As a general rule, expenditure incurred in the purchase or development of assets is capital expenditure. Expenditure necessarily incurred in either maintaining the operational capacity of the non-current asset or ensuring that the original life estimate of the asset is achieved, is considered maintenance expenditure and is treated as an expense as incurred. Items of a capital nature with a total value of less than $2,000 are treated as an expense.


Council does not currently use any finance lease arrangements. In respect of operating leases, where the lessor effectively retains substantially the entire risks and benefits incidental to ownership of the leased property, the payments are charged to expense over the lease term.

  1. Depreciation and amortisation of property, infrastructure plant and equipment and intangibles

Buildings, land improvements, plant and equipment, infrastructure, and other assets having limited useful lives are systematically depreciated over their useful lives to Council in a manner which reflects consumption of the service potential embodied in those assets. Estimates of remaining useful lives and residual values are made on a regular basis with major asset classes reassessed annually. Depreciation rates and methods are reviewed annually.

Where assets have separate identifiable components that are subject to regular replacement, these components are assigned distinct useful lives and residual values and a separate depreciation rate is determined for each component.

Trees, land and artworks are not depreciated as they are considered to have either unlimited useful lives or to be self-generating assets.

Straight line depreciation is charged based on the residual useful life as determined each year.

Depreciation periods used are listed below and are consistent with the prior year unless otherwise stated.

Asset recognition thresholds and depreciation periods:


Depreciation Period (Years)

Threshold Limit $000










Heritage buildings






Leasehold improvements



Plant and equipment



Plant, machinery and equipment



Fixtures, fittings and furniture



Computers and telecommunications



Library books






Road pavements and seals



Road substructure



Road kerb, channel and minor culverts



Bridge deck



Bridge substructure



Footpaths and cycleways






Recreational, leisure and community facilities



Parks, open space and streetscapes



Off street car parks



Intangible assets



Assets are depreciated from the date of acquisition or, in respect of internally constructed assets, from the time an asset is completed and held ready for use.

  1. Repairs and maintenance

Routine maintenance, repair costs, and minor renewal costs are expensed as incurred. Where the repair relates to the replacement of a component of an asset and the cost exceeds the capitalisation threshold the cost is capitalised and depreciated. The carrying value of the replaced asset is expensed.

  1. Investment property

Investment property, comprising freehold office complexes, is held to generate long-term rental yields. Investment property is measured initially at cost, including transaction costs. Costs incurred subsequent to initial acquisition are capitalised when it is probable that future economic benefit in excess of the originally assessed performance of the asset will flow to Council. Subsequent to initial recognition at cost, investment property is carried at fair value, determined annually by independent valuers. Changes to fair value are recorded in the Comprehensive Income Statement in the period that they arise. Rental income from the leasing of investment properties is recognised in the Comprehensive Income Statement as earned.

  1. Impairment of assets

At each reporting date, Council reviews the carrying value of its assets to determine whether there is any indication that these assets have been impaired. If such an indication exists, the recoverable amount of the asset, being the higher of the asset's fair value less costs to sell and value in use, is compared to the assets carrying value. Any excess of the assets carrying value over its recoverable amount is expensed to the comprehensive income statement, unless the asset is carried at the revalued amount in which case, the impairment loss is recognised directly against the revaluation surplus in respect of the same class of asset to the extent that the impairment loss does not exceed the amount in the revaluation surplus for that same class of asset.

  1. Trust funds and deposits

Amounts received as deposits and retention amounts controlled by Council are recognised as trust funds until they are returned, transferred in accordance with the purpose of the receipt, or forfeited (refer to Note 26).

  1. Borrowings

Borrowings are initially measured at fair value, being the cost of the interest bearing liabilities, net of transaction costs. The measurement basis subsequent to initial recognition depends on whether Council has categorised its interest-bearing liabilities as either financial liabilities designated at fair value through the profit and loss, or financial liabilities at amortised cost. Any difference between the initial recognised amount and the redemption value is recognised in the Comprehensive Income Statement over the period of the borrowing using the effective interest method.

The classification depends on the nature and purpose of the interest bearing liabilities. Council determines the classification of its interest bearing liabilities at initial recognition.

Borrowing costs

Borrowing costs are recognised as an expense in the period in which they are incurred, except where they are capitalised as part of a qualifying asset constructed by Council. Except where specific borrowings are obtained for the purpose of specific asset acquisition, the weighted average interest rate applicable to borrowings at balance date, excluding borrowings associated with superannuation, is used to determine the borrowing costs to be capitalised.

Borrowing costs include interest on bank overdrafts, interest on borrowings, and finance lease charges.

  1. Employee costs and benefits

The calculation of employee costs and benefits includes all relevant on-costs and are calculated as follows at reporting date.

Wages and salaries and annual leave

Liabilities for wages and salaries, including non-monetary benefits, annual leave and accumulated sick leave expected to be wholly settled within 12 months of the reporting date are recognised in the provision for employee benefits in respect of employee services up to the reporting date, classified as current liabilities and measured at their nominal values.

Liabilities that are not expected to be wholly settled within 12 months of the reporting date are recognised in the provision for employee benefits as current liabilities, measured at present value of the amounts expected to be paid when the liabilities are settled using the remuneration rate expected to apply at the time of settlement.

Long service leave

Liability for long service leave (LSL) is recognised in the provision for employee benefits.

Current Liability - unconditional LSL is disclosed as a current liability even when Council does not expect to settle the liability within 12 months because it will not have the unconditional right to defer settlement of the entitlement should an employee take leave within 12 months.

The components of this current liability are measured at:

  • Present value - component that is not expected to be wholly settled within 12 months

  • Nominal value - component that is expected to be wholly settled within 12 months.

Non-Current Liability- conditional long service leave that has been accrued, where an employee is yet to reach a qualifying term of employment, is disclosed as a non-current liability. There is an unconditional right to defer settlement of the entitlement until the employee has completed the requisite years of service.

This non-current long service leave liability is measured at present value.

Long service leave entitlements for employees with over seven years of service and all annual leave entitlements are classified as current. Long service leave entitlements for employees with less than seven years of service is classified as non-current.

  1. Recognition and measurement of intangibles


Where an entity or operation is acquired, the identifiable net assets acquired are measured at fair value. The excess of the fair value of the cost of acquisition over the fair value of the identifiable net assets acquired is brought to account as goodwill. Goodwill is not amortised, but tested annually for impairment.


Software, that is not an integral part of the related hardware, is classified as intangibles, recorded at cost and amortised on a straight line basis over a seven year period.




Useful lives



Method used

Not depreciated or re-valued

7 years – straight line

Internally generated / acquired



Impairment test / recoverable amount test

Reviewed annually for indication of impairment

Amortised method reviewed at each financial year end and reviewed annually for indication of impairment

Customer relationship assets

The fair value of customer relationships acquired is calculated considering the estimated future recurring revenues from existing customers in the acquired operations at the date of the acquisition. Any deferred tax liabilities related to customer relationships are calculated and recorded as a part of goodwill. Customer relationships have a useful life of five years and are amortised on a straight-line basis.

  1. Leases

Financial leases

Council does not have financial leases.

Operating leases

Lease payments for operating leases are required by the accounting standard to be recognised on a straight line basis, rather than expensed in the years in which they are incurred.

Leasehold improvements

Leasehold improvements are recognised at cost and are amortised over the unexpired period of the lease or the estimated useful life of the improvement, whichever is the shorter. At balance date, leasehold improvements are amortised over a 10 to 17 year period.

  1. Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Revenues, expenses and assets are recognised net of the amount of GST, except where the amount of GST incurred is not recoverable from the Australian Tax Office. In these circumstances the GST is recognised as part of the cost of acquisition of the asset or as part of an item of the expense. Receivables and payables in the balance sheet are shown inclusive of GST.

Cash flows are presented in the Statement of Cash flows on a gross basis, except for the GST component of investing and financing activities, which are disclosed as operating cash flows.

  1. Financial guarantees

Financial guarantee contracts are not recognised as a liability in the Balance Sheet unless the lender has exercised their right to call on the guarantee or Council has other reasons to believe there is probability that the right will be exercised. Details of guarantees that Council has provided, that are not recognised in the balance sheet are disclosed at Note 35.

  1. Contingent assets and contingent liabilities and commitments

Contingent assets and contingent liabilities are not recognised in the Balance Sheet, but are disclosed at Note 35 and, if quantifiable, are measured at nominal value. Contingent assets and liabilities are presented inclusive of GST receivable or payable respectively.

Commitments are not recognised in the Balance Sheet. Commitments are disclosed at their nominal value by way of note and presented inclusive of the GST payable. Commitments are disclosed at Note 33 separated into categories of operating and capital expenditure.

  1. Rounding

Unless otherwise stated, amounts in the Financial Statements are rounded to the nearest thousand dollars.

  1. Changes to Comparatives

An adjustment has been made in the 2015 accounting period to record the gifting of 6.553 hectares of land from state government and partial gifting of a playground on this parcel of land. The land gifted relates to the demolition and removal of the former Royal Children’s Hospital provided to Melbourne City Council on 30 June 2015. The financial implications of the transaction are an increase in Contributed Income of $20.531 million, Land increased by $17.605 million and Infrastructure by $5.680 million. Work in Progress reduced by $2.755 million reflecting Council’s contribution to the playground. The changes impact the Comprehensive Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Statement of Changes in Equity.

An adjustment has been made for Building and Planning Permit fees relating prior accounting periods.

For the 2015 financial year comparatives for Building and Planning Permits Fees in the Comprehensive Income Statement have been increased by $1.498 million, Other Receivables in the Balance Sheet have been increased by $1.585 million and to reflect changes within years prior to 2015 Accumulated Surplus in the Statement of Changes in Equity has been increased by $0.087.

An adjustment to Note 33 for Commitments has been made to reflect the full value of contracts outstanding where three contracts were previously recorded at annual value and not contract value. The effect of the changes to 30 June 2015 Commitments is $12.557 million.

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