Councillor pay.
Councillor pay.

Cr pay left behind by Qld figures

ANYONE who thinks our Clarence Valley councillors are getting paid too much should take a look north across the border.

After looking at the size of the business papers for the Clarence Valley Council’s committee meetings last week – they were close to 15cm thick – we checked to see if councillors were being compensated adequately for the enormous hours they need to put in to do their job effectively.

If you compare the payments our councillors receive with those of a similar council in Queensland, the answer is clearly they are not.

We compared the Clarence Valley Council with the Gympie Regional Council. They have similar populations, each has areas of coastline with development pressures, a large rural hinterland and similar demographics.

In the Clarence, the mayor receives $16,000 and allowances worth about $35,000. In Gympie the mayor gets between $114,000 and $130,500 with a car on top. The Gympie Times tells us it cannot get an accurate figure on the mayor’s entitlements.

In the Clarence, the deputy mayor gets $16,000 plus a $3000 deputy’s allowance. In Gympie the deputy mayor gets between $75,000 and $88,000. He or she also gets a car.

In the Clarence a councillor gets $16,000. In Gympie, councillors get between $65,000 and $78,000, plus a car.

Clarence councillors oversee a budget of $150 million, a population of 51,000 and a geographical area of 10,550 square kilometres.

Gympie has a budget of $131 million, a population of 46,500 and an area of 6898 square kilometres.

Clarence Valley Council general manager Stuart McPherson said the Local Government and Shires Association had been arguing for more than 15 years that councillor payments were inadequate and hindered the quality and qualifications of council candidates.

“If the payment was higher we could get a more diverse range of candidates,” he said.

He said it was difficult for regular wage and salary earners to seek a position on the council because their employers would balk at it.

Providing extra payments could make being a councillor a more attractive proposition.

He said he knew of one councillor on another council who had to employ a full-time staff member in his business because it was close to a full-time job performing his council duties. The councillor believed being on council cost him up to $50,000 a year.

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