Big pay rise for councillors

Cockburn councillor Stephen Pratt. d397165
Cockburn councillor Stephen Pratt. d397165

The Tribunal announced in May that it was reviewing local government pay rates. From that review it was determined the previous system ” which had not been reviewed since 2005 ” was no longer relevant, considering the responsibilities now shouldered by large local governments.

Band one councils, of which Cockburn is one, had the biggest scope for pay increases.

Under the changes, which elected members agreed to at the recent council meeting, Mayor Logan Howlett can claim up to $85,000 in allowances annually, up from $60,000.

He is also entitled to an annual fee of $45,000 ” up from $14,000 ” to attend council and committee meetings.

Attendance fees paid to councillors will increase from $7000 to $30,000.

Councillor Stephen Pratt, a member of community groups Cooby Now and the Cockburn Rotary Club, agreed the changes were necessary. ‘The $7000 wasn’t a large amount and the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal have recognised this,’ he said.

‘My understanding is that it is higher in other states so it is only fair WA also made the changes, especially as the City of Cockburn is one of the largest urban growth councils in the nation.

‘The extra money will certainly increase elected members’ capacity to carry out their role in the community. To some extent it could be looked at as compensation for the hours spent away from their families and loved ones.

‘This increase recommended by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal has been long overdue and I think most people agree with that.’

West ward councillor Carol Reeve-Fowkes also backed the decision, saying the job was a big commitment.

‘I personally think it appropriate that councillors are compensated for the amount of hours put in behind the scenes,’ she said.

‘A huge amount of reading and research is needed in order to make the right decisions.’