Possible pay rise for councillors

MAYOR Ron Bellingham said there was still a long way to go before Southern Downs councillors had to decide whether to accept a 4.1 per cent pay increase.

Federal parliamentarians could be granted the salary  boost, which will be backdated to August 1, after a remuneration tribunal recommendation last week.

If approved by the Prime Minister, it will be up to State Governments to decide whether they follow suit before it flows on to councils.

At this week’s Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) conference, delegates were asked to consider how they would feel about the sizeable increase by Local Government Remuneration and Discipline Tribunal (LGRDT) chairman Adrian Bloomfield.

Mr Bloomfield said he would be extremely surprised if State Government followed the lead and Cr Bellingham echoed the sentiment.

“I think it would be questionable whether State Government would follow suit,” the Mayor said. “Personally I suspect not.

“I’m surprised that the Federal Government has gone for that level of increase and that will be a debate.”

Cr Bellingham said the local debate would be a down the track and although he understood politicians should be fairly remunerated for the responsibility they carry, this was “quite a significant increase”.

“It’s a challenge at all levels of government to be compensated appropriately otherwise you just get wealthier people that can afford to be there and that’s not necessarily the best result.”

In January this year local councillors voted to give themself a three per cent pay rise, which saw the mayor’s pay increase from $107,580 to $110,960, the Deputy Mayor’s from $69,610 to $71,800 and the remaining councillors from $60,120 to $62,010.

However, it wasn’t without debate. Councillors Peter Blundell and Ross Bartley expressed reluctance to accept the increase, but eventually decided to vote unanimously with their fellow elected officials.

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