Mayors thinking small

St James resident Troy Ellis wants to start an action group against revenue raising from speeding fines. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d400460
St James resident Troy Ellis wants to start an action group against revenue raising from speeding fines. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d400460

Claremont Mayor Jock Barker, who gets about $20,000 for duties comprising of 25 to 30 hours, said he did not care about being remunerated.

‘I, like a lot of other people in council, believe it’s about putting something back in to the community,’ he said.

Pay rates were last adjusted eight years ago, and currently include an initial $14,000 limit for mayors and $7000 for councillors, on which other entitlements and allowances can be added.

The inquiry has prompted Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, who wants her $60,000 a year salary trebled, and City of Vincent Mayor Alannah MacTiernan to advocate for higher wages to keep qualified and talented people in local government.

WA councils could get more Canberra funding if the sector is recognised in the Australian Constitution after a referendum at the Federal Election of September 15. But the Federal Government has said it would prefer to deal only with interstate-sized councils of more than about 150,000 residents, many of which have mayors with salaries of about $180,000.

Cottesloe Mayor Kevin Morgan, who gets $17,000 for about 10 hours a week at his 7300-resident town, said mayors at large councils often made their roles a full-time job and it should be up to ratepayers to decide whether they wanted to pay for such a council leader.

Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins did not seek an increase to his $60,000 salary paid for his work lasting up to 60 hours a week, running the 22,500-ratepayer city.

Cambridge Mayor Simon Withers wanted ‘underpaid’ councillors to get $30,000 a year to reflect their hours and roles, which were similar to a non-executive director in a mid-sized company.