The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Councillor­s to receive pay increase


Allowances for Wimmera mayors, deputy mayors and councillor­s will increase following a statewide change to remunerati­on rules.

The Victorian Independen­t Remunerati­on Tribunal made an ‘annual adjustment determinat­ion’ to allowances for councillor­s last month.

It determined a 1.5 percent increase to the base allowances for mayors, deputy mayors and councillor­s, effective December 18 last year.

A further 1.5 percent adjustment will apply from December 18, 2023.

Mayors and deputy mayors will receive a further 1.5 percent increase — from December 18, 2024 and again on December 18, 2025.

The Local Government Minister categorise­s councils based on population and income.

Horsham Rural City is the only categorytw­o council in the Wimmera.

Horsham councillor­s will be paid $31,353 annually, as at 2023.

Horsham’s annual mayoral allowance has increased to $100,637 and its deputy mayoral allowance earns $50,319.

Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, West Wimmera and Yarriambia­ck shires and Ararat Rural City Council are classified category one.

An annual category-one councillor allowance is $25,147, mayoral allowance is $77,933 and deputy mayor allowance is $38,967.

A State Government spokespers­on said councillor­s, deputy mayors and mayors were entitled to receive an allowance under the Local Government Act 2020.

The spokespers­on said the tribunal set the allowance value which councils factored into their annual budget-setting process.

Horsham Rural City Council chief executive Sunil Bhalla said previously, councillor­s could select their allowance value within a band, according to their category rating. But he said this would no longer occur because the tribunal had now fixed allowances annually.

“The tribunal is required to make an annual adjustment to the values of allowances. Their determinat­ion adjusts the values,” he said. “Councillor allowances are included in the council’s normal operating budget each financial year.

“The allowance reflects the work that councillor­s do each year for council.”

Mr Bhalla said use of council-owned vehicles for the purpose of council business had no impact on allowances.

“The Local Government Act allows for resources and equipment required by councillor­s to be provided in addition to their paid allowance,” he said.

“Council considers that the provision of a car is necessary to support the work of the mayor in representi­ng the council in a broad range of activities and locations.

“This provision is in addition to the mayoral allowance.”

Yarriambia­ck Shire Council chief executive Tammy Smith said councillor­s now had a consistent allowance, based on the tribunal’s decision.

“It will see all councillor­s and mayors across rural Victoria on equal allowances,” she said.

“The councillor allowance provides remunerati­on for their time taken away from their employment, business and personal commitment­s to effectivel­y oversee the strategic direction of the council.

“Councillor­s are delegated to represent the council on a number of committees and boards as well as attending council forums, community consultati­ons and other events.

“The allowances will increase by an increment of 1.5 percent each year, similar to wages, as a result of a number of factors. These include current and project economic conditions and trends, the fiscal strategy of the State of Victoria and recent remunerati­on adjustment­s for comparable roles.”

Northern Grampians mayor Kevin Erwin said councillor­s were paid from council revenue it received from rates, untied grants and user fees.

“It is recognised that there is a lot of work expected of the mayor and councillor­s in fulfilling their role as representa­tive of the Northern Grampians Shire Council community,” Cr Erwin said.

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