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Pay rise for councillors

COUNCILLORS have voted to give themselves a pay rise.

Due to an amendment to the Local Government Act, the annual attendance fees for councillors will be increased from $5,000 to $6,000.

The Lord Mayor’s attendance fee rises from $10,000 to $12,000.

The Lord Mayor is also entitled to an annual local government allowance to a maximum of $60,000, replacing the Lord Mayor’s Entertainment Allow-ance. The Deputy Lord Mayor is now entitled to a deputy’s annual local government allowance of up to $15,000.

The Deputy Lord Mayor only receives 25 per cent of what the Lord Mayor decides to take.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said if he decided to take no allowance, Deputy Lord Mayor Michael Sutherland would also get nothing.

In the 1998-99 council budget, Dr Nattrass was entitled to an allowance, under the old system, of $78,308, of which he only took $35,000.

The allowance is paid to councillors and the portion of the allowance not used can be taxed.

Mr Sutherland said he wanted his allowance and what he did not spend would be given back to council.

Councillor Judy McEvoy said she thought the increase would keep councillor’s entitlements in line with inflation. However, Councillor Laurance Goodman said it was a time for fiscal prudence by all members.

“We have to show the lead ourselves,” Mr Goodman said. “I think the current allowances are adequate. We’re here on a voluntary capacity.

“I can’t see the justification for the Deputy Lord Mayor’s allowance because I am not aware of a job specification for the Deputy Lord Mayor.

“I don’t like allowances that can’t be accounted for,” he said.

Councillors Goodman, Bert Tudori, Janet Davidson and Jennifer MacGill voted against the increase.

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