Councillors want the option to allow super payments.
Councillors want the option to allow super payments.

Councillor sways counterparts on contributions

COUNCILLOR Karen Toms has invoked the spirit of equal opportunity during a discussion on superannuation.

At the corporate, governance and works committee meeting on Tuesday councillors were considering a discussion paper regarding the payment of superannuation.

Currently NSW councils are not obliged to pay super to elected councillors, but individuals can forego part of their renumeration in exchange for a contribution.

The Office of Local Government recently released a discussion paper outlining potential changes to legislation regarding the issue and asked for Clarence Valley Council's input.

During a debate over whether to support the status quo, councillor Karen Toms said she wanted to support an option that allowed future councils to make their own decision.

In doing Ms Toms noted the inequality within the superannuation system across gender lines.

"I think that a lot of women especially are not too keen to go into a council position for many reasons," she said.

"Women already do many unpaid jobs and at the end of their working life they find their superannuation fund is much lower than a mans who's been able to work their whole life.

"They (the new council) may like to go and make this happen for new councillors which might encourage more women to actually join."

That drew an instant response from councillor Peter Ellem who said "Karen, you have won me over".

"It's crazy that there isn't any superannuation for councillors in NSW," he said.

"Your foreshadowed motion actually gives a future council the option to go down that track if it sees fit."

It was an almost identical response from councillor Arthur Lysaught who said he thought the current renumeration was inadequate and subsequently voted against his own motion to keep the status quo.

"If nine and a half per cent is going to influence anyone to get into this (council) then good luck to them," he said.

"You have won me too Karen."

The councillors recommended individual councils should be allowed to make thier own decision on whether to pay superannuation.

The final decision will be made at the full council meeting next Tuesday.



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