Big increase in eastern suburbs council employees earning at least $100,000

Big increase in eastern suburbs council employees earning at least $100,000

ALMOST twice as many council employees are paid salaries of $100,000 or more in the eastern suburbs compared to five years ago.

A comparison of three local government annual reports revealed 110 senior staff across the Cities of Swan and Kalamunda and Mundaring Shire received a six-digit income in 2016-2017.

The City of Kalamunda more than doubled the number of employees paid at least $100,000 from 13 to 29 between 2011-2012 and 2016-2017, with the highest increase at the bottom of the salary range between 100 and 130K.

“This reflects those positions that have crept up into the 100K bracket due to annualised increases over five years,” a City of Kalamunda spokeswoman said.

“Also, statutory superannuation has increased from 9 per cent to 9.5 per cent in the respective periods.

“When you omit the three lower salary brackets for 2016/17, the numbers are comparable.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics last year recorded record low growth in private-sector wages in WA.

Council employees paid a salary of at least $100,000 in the City of Swan almost doubled from 33 to 63 between 2012-2013 and 2016-2017.

Chief executive officer Mike Foley said the City of Swan was one of the fastest growing Local Governments in WA with 679 employees compared to 582 in 2012-2013.

“The increased number of employees is a result of residential population growth accompanied by increased community expectations and significant community asset growth due to development,” he said.

“The City needs qualified experienced staff to deliver its significant capital program (2017/18 budget $127.7m versus 2012/13 budget $77.5m) and community services in an environment of increased legislative and compliance requirements.”

He said the City was geographically the largest metropolitan local government in WA, with residential population set to grow by more than 50,000 people by 2027.

Eighteen Shire of Mundaring employees were entitled to an annual cash salary of $100,000 or more compared to 11 in 2011-2012.

Council employees are paid according to the Local Government Industries Award (LGIA) 2010 and pay rates change from July 1 each year based on the CPI increase.

Chief executive officers are paid in line with the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal for Local Government and Elected Members.

Salaries for CEOs at the three councils ranged from $259,000 to $299,999 in 2016-2017.

By comparison, Deputy Premier Roger Cook has a remuneration package of $302,878 and MPs have a base income of $156,536 per annum.

The City of Kalamunda spokesperson said positions paid above 100K are managerial roles and senior technical professionals with substantive experience.

“All salaries have been benchmarked to external remuneration databases to ensure the City pays at the appropriate level for the employee’s skills and experience, and also considers that we are able to attract sufficiently skilled persons in the market without paying a premium.”

Councils must record the number of employees paid $100,000 or more in their annual reports, which are published online and available from local government offices.

Local government workers receive additional benefits such as salary packaging, free parking and reduced health club memberships.

Employees at the City of Kalamunda are entitled to 50 per cent off gym membership at Hartfield Park Recreation Centre and Kalamunda Water Park.

They may also contribute up to 6 per cent superannuation from their salary, which the City will match in addition to their 9.5 per cent superannuation.

Local Government Minister David Templeman said council chief executives set local government salaries and elected members approved councils’ operational budgets.

“If people have concerns about the remuneration of staff, they should raise those concerns with the CEO of the relevant local government,” he said.

“In the current economic climate, the public expects restraint from all sectors in relation to salaries and allowances.”

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