2 per cent fee increase for councillors falls short

Mayors and councillors in NSW will get a 2 per cent fee increase from July following a determination by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal.

This is less than the 2.5 per cent sought by councils, who cited the expanding workloads, responsibilities, capabilities and duties of mayors and councillors.

In its submission to the tribunal the state’s peak body for local government, LGNSW, argued that mayors and councillors are not being appropriately paid, and get less than state MPs.

In some cases maximum mayoral remunerations were $230,000 less than that of NSW parliamentarians.

LGNSW also expressed concern that the current fee structure isn’t enough to attract suitable individuals to the job.

Other submissions highlighted difficulties arising from covid, bushfires and floods, as well as challenges relating to connectivity and travel in some rural and regional areas.

However the Tribunal noted that IPART had set the rate peg for 2012-22 at 2 per cent and that employees on the Local Government Award would get a 2 per cent pay rise from July.

Fees determined by category

The fee structure for individual councils is determined by the category a council falls into, reflecting the size and nature of each council and whether it’s regional or metropolitan.

The decision means that councillors at City of Sydney – the state’s principal CBD council – will receive between $28,190 and $41,340, with the mayor eligible for an additional fee of between $172,480 and 226,960.

In comparison, councillors at a major regional city council will get between $18,000 – $32,680, and mayors an additional fee of between $39,940 – $101,800.

The full schedule can be accessed here.

Request for new categories knocked back

Nine councils requested recategorisation, and Blacktown and Penrith City Councils sought the creation of a new category of “Metropolitan Large (Growth Area)”, while City of Newcastle wanted a new  category of “Gateway City”.

The tribunal said in making its determination it took into account statistical and demographical data and considered submissions from LGNSW, individual councils and Regional Cities NSW.

However, “the tribunal found that the current categories and allocation of councils to these categories remain appropriate,” assessors said.

“Given the impact of the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic on the state and federal economies and wellbeing of communities, the tribunal determined no increase in the minimum and maximum fees applicable to each existing category,” the determination said.

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