Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee

What does this committee do?

The objective of the committee is to provide independent assurance, oversight and assistance to Council on risk management, control, governance, internal audits, organisational performance and external responsibilities in an advisory capacity.

The responsibilities of the committee will include, but not be limited to, keeping under review the following aspects of Council’s operations:

• Compliance

• Risk management

• Fraud control

• Financial management

• Governance

• Implementation of the strategic plan, delivery program and strategies

• Service reviews

• Collection of performance measurement data by the Council, and

• Any other matter prescribed by the regulations

As part of this objective, the Committee will ensure that there are adequate and effective systems of internal control in place throughout Council and will assist in the implementation of the internal and external audit plans. The committee is also to provide information to the Council for the purpose of improving the Council’s performance of its functions.

The Committee’s role is to review aspects of Council’s operation and provide advice and guidance to Council for the purpose of improving the performance of its functions.

On an annual basis the Chair will provide an Audit, Risk and Improvement Annual Report to Council along with the Audit Plan for the coming year.

Committee Membership

The Committee membership (voting) comprises two elected Councillors and three independent external members, one of whom is the Chairperson.

The members of the Committee are:

Stephen Coates (Chair)

Stephen has a background as an experienced internal audit professional. He is currently President of IIA-Australia and member of the global International Internal Audit Standards Board (IIASB). Stephen has held senior roles in advisory and consulting services, technology risk consulting, and assurance services. His focus is on authoritative, independent, and confidential advice to enterprise and technology leadership on delivering improved strategic deployment, risk culture, technology insight and systems and operations performance. He also chairs a number of Audit Risk & Improvement Committees nationally. Stephen tries to bring a culture of continuous improvement to his work, and has a passion is helping Boards and Committees make good decisions.

Peter McLean

Peter McLean is a not for profit specialist having led 5 Australian Charities in 4 sectors.  He currently is CEO at the Can Too Foundation, a charity which trains participants towards goal run and swim events whilst raising money for cancer research.  Peter originally worked in State and Local Government before moving into the not-for-profit industry. Peter holds a degree in Environmental Management, a Masters in Business Administration sub-majoring in Business Law and Public Relations and Certificates in Bush Regeneration and Business Governance.

From his strong understanding and knowledge in local government, Peter regularly advises and assists various local councils as an independent Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee member. Peter is passionate about assisting and developing effective organisations to better support the communities they serve.

Donna Rygate

Donna Rygate is an experienced Chief Executive, independent director, business leader and skilled problem solver with a solid track record of positive transformation of organisations. In addition to holding various board, panel and committee chair and member roles, and doing some consultancy, she loves working on the farming and grazing property she co-owns at Canowindra in Central Western NSW.

From 2014 to 2018 Donna was Chief Executive of Local Government NSW, the peak industry association that represented the interests all NSW general purpose councils and other related organisations. Donna has an Economics degree with Honours in Government and Public Administration and a Masters degree in Planning, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors course. She is currently enrolled in the Juris Doctor program at Macquarie University. Donna was made a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration in 2012.

Cr Claire Pontin

Deputy Mayor, Cr Claire Pontin is one of the appointed Councillors to the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee.

For further information about Cr Pontin, visit the Councillors page on our website.

Cr Troy Fowler

Cr Troy Fowler is one of the appointed Councillors to the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee.

For further information about Cr Fowler, visit the Councillors page on our website.

The General Manager and other staff participate in Committee meetings as required.

Committee meetings

The Committee shall meet at least four times per year (quarterly), with the standard duration for a meeting being three hours. If necessary, an additional meeting will be held to review and endorse the annual audited financial reports and external audit opinion. Preparation will involve review and critical analysis of the agenda pack.


All enquiries or requests for information should be directed to Rob Griffiths, Manager Governance on 0427 062 593 or email


Supporting documentation

2020 MidCoast ARIC Annual Report(PDF, 5MB)

2019 MidCoast ARIC Annual Report(PDF, 4MB)

Audit Risk and Improvement Committee Charter(PDF, 258KB)

MidCoast Committees Guidelines(PDF, 421KB)