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Under the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal and Improving Parliamentary Standards Act 2019 (Vic) (VIRTIPS Act), the Tribunal is required to make Determinations setting the values of the allowances – including allowance categories – payable to Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors (Council members) in Victorian Councils.

On 17 June 2021, the Minister for Local Government requested that the Tribunal make the first Determination. The Determination will come into effect on 18 December 2021 — six months from the day the Tribunal received the Minister’s request. The request letter from the Minister of Local Government is available below.

 

  • Ref: BMIN-2-21-11734 

    Warren McCann 
    Chair 
    Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal 
    Suite 1, Ground Floor, 1 Treasury Place 
    MELBOURNE   VIC   3000  
    enquiries@remunerationtribunal.vic.gov.au 

    Dear Mr McCann 

    The Local Government Act 2020 has transferred responsibility for determining Victorian mayoral, deputy mayoral and councillor allowances to the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal. 

    Following consultation with the Minister for Government Services, I am writing to formally request that the Tribunal make its first determination for mayoral, deputy mayoral and councillor allowances. This request is made under section 23A(4) of the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal and Improving Parliamentary Standards Act 2019. 

    Please find enclosed further information that may assist the Tribunal in relation to its forthcoming determination. 

    Tribunal secretariat officers may contact Julie Reid, Executive Director, Local Government Victoria on 0428 350 176 or at julie.reid@ecodev.vic.gov.au for further information. 

    Thank you for undertaking this important task for the Victorian local government sector. I look forward to the Tribunal’s first determination of mayoral, deputy mayoral and councillor allowances.  

    Yours sincerely 

    The Hon Shaun Leane MP 
    Minister for Local Government 
    Minister for Suburban Development 
    Minister for Veterans 
    Date: 17/06/2021 
    cc The Hon Danny Pearson MP, Minister for Government Services

  • First Determination of mayoral, deputy mayoral and councillor allowances 

    Matters for possible consideration by the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal

    Current position on council allowances 

    Recognition and Support: Victorian Government’s Policy Statement on Local Government Mayoral and Councillor Allowances and Resources (April 2008): While this policy notes that the Government views councillor allowances not as a form of salary, but as recognition of the contributions made by those elected to voluntary, part time roles in the community, the Tribunal may wish to consider whether this view supports a contemporary local government sector that attracts diverse community perspectives to civic life. 

    Allowances and representation 

    The Victorian Government’s Gender Equality Strategy, Safe and Strong, sets a target of 50:50 gender representation for councillors and mayors by 2025. In giving effect to this strategy, the Government has undertaken a range of initiatives to encourage women’s participation in local government, including the establishment of a new Gender Equality Advisory Committee (GEAC) to drive gender equality across Victoria’s 79 councils. 

    Funding for a range of initiatives to promote and support women on councils has recently been provided, including: 

    The Tribunal may wish to consider the impact that allowances may have on representation in local leadership roles, especially in terms of the representation of women.

    Local government priorities 

    The Ministerial Statement on local government articulates the Government’s future priorities for the  local government sector, including the critical role of councils in Victoria’s pathway through social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tribunal may wish to consider whether the priorities identified in this statement should be taken into account in determining councillor allowances. 

    Allowances paid to members of other community bodies 

    Section 23A(5)(a) of the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal and Improving Parliamentary Standards Act 2019 requires the Tribunal to take into account similar allowances paid to members elected to voluntary part-time roles in community organisations.  

    The Tribunal’s secretariat may wish to contact officers from my Department for assistance with identifying relevant examples of such community bodies that the Tribunal may wish to consider as a useful basis for comparison.

Until the Determination takes effect, allowances payable to Council members continue to be determined by individual Councils in accordance with limits set by the Victorian Government. The current limits are available on the Know Your Council website. Queries regarding current allowances should be directed to individual Councils.

Notice of intention to make a Determination

In accordance with section 24(1) of the VIRTIPS Act, the Tribunal hereby publishes its notice of intention to make a Determination.

Details of the proposed Determination and how to make a submission are set out below.

  • The Tribunal must make a Determination setting the values of the allowances for Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors (Council members) in all 79 Councils in Victoria.

    The Determination must also provide for allowance categories, which may be specified for either a single Council or a group of Councils.

    What is not in scope of the Determination?

    The Determination will not cover the reimbursement of expenses incurred by Council members, or the provision of facilities and resources, which are provided by Councils in accordance with the Local Government Act 2020 (Vic).

    Additionally, the Determination will not apply to administrators and Municipal Monitors appointed to a Council, whose remuneration is determined by the Minister for Local Government.

  • When making the first Determination, the Tribunal must comprehensively review existing allowances and allowance categories under the Local Government Act 1989 (Vic), while taking into account:

    • similar allowances for elected members of local government bodies in other states
    • allowances for persons elected to other voluntary part-time community bodies (s23A(5)(a) of the VIRTIPS Act).

    The Tribunal’s Determination must set the values of allowances at not less than the existing equivalent allowances under the Local Government Act 1989 (Vic) (s23A(5)(c) of the VIRTIPS Act).

    In making a Determination, the VIRTIPS Act provides that the Tribunal must also consider:

    • any statement or policy of the Victorian Government in force with respect to its wages policy and the remuneration and allowances of any specified occupational group (s24(2)(a))
    • the financial position and fiscal strategy of the State of Victoria (s24(2)(b))
    • current and projected economic conditions
      and trends (s24(2)(c))
    • submissions received about the proposed Determination (s24(2)(d)).

Submissions and Consultation Paper

The Tribunal invites submissions from any person or body, including any affected person or class of affected persons, in relation to the proposed Determination.

Submissions (and requests for assistance with making a submission) may be made at localgovernment@remunerationtribunal.vic.gov.au.

Written submissions must be received by the Tribunal by 5pm on Monday 16 August 2021.

Those wishing to make an oral submission must advise the Tribunal by 5pm on Monday 26 July 2021.

To support parties to make a submission, the Tribunal has published a Consultation Paper:

Online version – Proposed Determination of allowances for Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors consultation paper

 

In addition to inviting submissions, the Tribunal will directly invite currently serving Council members to complete an online questionnaire by 5pm on Monday 16 August 2021.

Publication of submissions

The Tribunal may use information provided in submissions in its Determination. The Tribunal's Privacy Policy governs the use of personal information from submissions made by any affected party in relation to the making of a Determination.

All submissions will be published in full or in summary form as appropriate on the Tribunal’s website, unless the person making the submission seeks confidentiality or the submission contains information that is identified as commercially sensitive. In this instance, the submission will be published in a form that protects confidentiality or commercial sensitivity.

The Tribunal may remove identifying information from submissions published.

Submissions that contain offensive or defamatory comments, or which are outside the scope of the Determination will not be published.

The Tribunal may receive a request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic). Any such request will be determined in accordance with that Act which has provisions designed to protect personal information and information given in confidence. Further information can be found at the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner website.

Reviewed 14 July 2021

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