I am writing to submit that I believe there should be a consistent wage for councillors, deputies and mayors across the whole state.
Given we are all bound by the Local Government Act 2020 and required to perform our duties accordingly, the size of our shire has no bearing on our requirements under the LGA2020 and I find the current division of councils into various categories inconsistent with other levels of government and not reflective of the enormous amount of work mayors, deputy mayors and councillors do in the smaller shires.
I appreciate that the current model is reflective of population size, but I argue that maintaining extensive road networks should be taken into consideration. Rural council are instrumental in ensuring the Victorian agricultural industry continues to be able to deliver for humanity and the state, for tourists to visit our regions for holidays and escapes in nature and to take pressure off the urban population as more people choose to live in regional and rural Victoria.
As a mayor of a shire who has been hit hard by the current floods and third La Nina summer and it’s impacts on our community, I can assure you our whole council team have worked hard to ensure our community are informed, safe and supported during this natural disaster and that we will continue to as the long period of recovery kicks in.
The majority of the shires hit by the floods are regional and rural shires, and we know from the climate modelling that it is these areas that will continue to be hit by further natural disasters due to climate change.
Finally, councils with lower wages has an impact who is willing to put their hand up for a role on council. I argue that the majority of councillors in the lower paid councils are retired members of the community or those from a financially secure background who can afford to reduce their paid work to take on a councillor role. Whilst both categories provide valuable expertise and skills on council, having a council that lacks the diversity of the community it represents does not allow for the best outcomes for the community.
I would like to see councillors, deputy mayors and mayors renumerated equally across the state to improve diversity and equality.