BUNDABERG LANDCARE ATTACKS COUNCILLOR’S REMUNERATION

This evening Bundaberg Landcare posted the following article on the Bargara Facebookers page. Due to the length of my response, I’ve chosen to post it here rather than clutter up the Facebook page.

 

Bundy Landcare

What a fantastic Christmas Present for our Councillors, From 1 Jan 2013 Councillors get a 2.5% salary increase

Mayor $133,549 per annum

Deputy Mayor $87,861 p a …

Councillors $77,318 p a Plus any agreed expenses plus ‘free’ car – anyone know how many councillors took up the offer of a vehicle?

I’m sorry but I fail to agree why Councillors, should get a pay rise when the rest of the community miss out. For instance Child Care Workers get only $18.58 an hour and yet have been denied an increase. These people have the hardest job in the world, they are expected to be educators, guardians and friends to our children, but yet they are not recognised professionally and paid accordingly, therefore good child care workers leave the profession. The only thing I can see councillors doing is helping big business.

———————————————–

I’m surprised that Bundaberg Landcare’s charter, as a not-for-profit environmental organisation, includes instigating and embroiling itself in online political debate however I’m happy to provide some facts on the issues raised and question asked.

Councillor’s remuneration reviews were taken out of the hands of Councillors following the 2008 amalgamation. They’re now reviewed on an annual basis by the independantly appointed Queensland Local Government Remuneration & Dicipline Tribunal which issues a comprehensive report each year explaining how they arrived at their decision. For those interested in the facts, their 2012 report can be viewed here: http://www.dlg.qld.gov.au/resources/report/local-government/full-report-2012.pdf.

With regards to vehicle useage…. Councillors formerly claimed mileage reimbursements based on the logbook-verified use of their private vehicles for Council business and calculated in accordance with the Australian Tax Office’s adopted scheduled of reimbursement.

Since the last election, all Councillors other than myself, have opted to be supplied with a fully maintained vehicle which includes private useage and all associated costs (fuel, registration, insurance, servicing, repairs, roadside assistance, etc) and for which they contribute $1,600/year.

Councillors were provided with an estimated average annual cost (capital, operational & residual value) which would be incurred to provide them with a range of vehicles as follows:-

  • $12,614 for a 6 cyl vehicle;
  • $11,537 for a 4 cyl SUV;
  • $10,157 for a 4 cycl sedan.

This information is detailed in Section 4.2.5 of the Reimbursement of Expenses and Provision of Facilities for Councillors Governance Policy.

In summary,

  • 8 Councillors received Hyundai x35 4 cyl SUVs,
  • 1 Councillor took over the use of an existing 6 cyl Council sedan and
  • I opted to use my own vehicle for reasons described below.

Council’s Annual Report details all mileage reimbursements along with other relevant costs such as conference attendances, telephone/internet expenses, superannuation, etc and these are itemised for each invdividual Councillor. They are all on the public record and contained in the Annual Reports, the latest of which can be viewed here (Page 61): http://bundaberg.qld.gov.au/files/BRC%20Annual%20Report%202012%20LR-singlePages.pdf.

Because my last annual mileage claim for my personal 6 cylinder SUV (as detailed in the report) was only $6,959.25, I could not justify accepting a fully funded Council vehicle.

With my new portfolio, it’s possible that in future years my mileage will increase because of the very nature of the work involved in it (Economic Development -v- Finance). However, until such time as it becomes cheaper to request a Council vehicle, I’ll continue to use my own and claim the relevant work-related mileage at the applicable ATO rate.

If the membership of Bundaberg Landcare continues to have concerns over these issues, they are welcome to contact me and I’m sure any other Councillor, the CEO or the Tribunal itself for clarification.

 

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