Payday for councillors

Image: File photo.
Image: File photo.

Annual meeting attendance fees for City of Swan Mayor Charlie Zannino are expected to rise from $14,000 to a minimum of $24,000 and as much as $45,000. The mayoral allowance of $53,000 a year could climb to as much as $85,000.

Attendance fees for city councillors would more than treble from $7000 a year to a minimum $24,000 ” and could go as high as $45,000.

The tribunal said in a statement that all WA mayors, shire presidents and councillors would receive increases under a new, four-band system.

Band 1 councils, such as the City of Swan, would have the largest rises.

Fees and allowances at the shires of Mundaring and Kalamunda would also climb. But as band two councils, the rises are expected to be considerably less.

Shire of Kalamunda president Sue Bilich’s meeting attendance fee is expected to rise from $14,000 a year to $14,500-$29,500. Her annual local government allowance could increase from $14,000 to $15,000-$60,000.

Kalamunda councillors’ fees and allowances would more than double from $7000 to a minimum of $14,500 and could reach a maximum of $22,000.

The fees are on top of a telecommunications allowance of $2400 a year and an information technology allowance of $1000.

Final fees and allowance increases have not yet been finalised by the City of Swan or the Shire of Kalamunda.

Kalamunda acting chief executive Clayton Higham said: ‘The Shire of Kalamunda and the councillors are yet to formally consider these matters.

A report will be presented to council in the new financial year providing advice on the options available for new fees and allowances to enable the council to make a properly informed decision.’

Swan chief executive Mike Foley added: ‘The exact amount for the annual allowance and annual meeting fees is yet to be considered and determined by council.’

Mundaring Shire has 12 elected council members.

It, too, has not yet considered the tribunal ruling but its councillor fees are required to be set at a minimum of $14,500 ” well in excess of present payments.

Shire President Helen Dullard’s meeting attendance fees would need to be set between $14,500 and $29,500.

A Shire spokesman said the council’s 2013-14 budget included a figure for the maximum allowable under the old fees and allowances determination, with a provision of $98,000 to cover the minimum allowed under the new determination.

The Salaries and Allowances Tribunal, which has the responsibility for both determining and recommending rates of remuneration for the all levels of government, said it awarded the increases to bring local councillors into line with those serving in other States.

It said the old fees and allowances scheme, which had not been reviewed since 2005, did not take into account the significant weight of responsibilities shouldered by council members, particularly in the large and most populated local government areas.

The new allowances levels would more adequately compensate elected members for their out-of-normal business hours time commitments and the considerable work they do on behalf of the community, it said.

There are 138 local governments and 11 regional local councils in WA and 1245 elected council members.